From the book, "Nephi's Isaiah" (2006):
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
083. God Can Speak to Us through the Use of Lots
From the book, "Nephi's Isaiah" (2006):
To Elijah, as he watched the unfolding physical signs of wind, earthquake and fire, these signs were not where he found God’s will. These were physical events, observable by anyone who would have been present. They were not “emotional” or “feeling,” but were outward events. They were used to confirm the truthfulness of the inner “voice” which spoke to him. That inner voice, speaking intelligence to the mind, was the voice of God; to him and to you as well.
Nebuchadnezzar heard God speak to Him through a dream. Likewise, Joseph of Egypt heard God speak many times in dreams containing symbols from which God’s “voice” was “heard.” Joseph, Christ’s earthly foster-father, was also warned repeatedly through dreams. It is more likely the lack of faith than the absence of communication which accounts for the apparent “silence” of God in most lives. We just do not believe or trust in Him enough to experience what is available to us all. The great difference between prophets and others is not in God’s willingness to speak, but in the refusal to listen. Some listen; and they are prophets. Others do not; and struggle to believe the prophets. God, however, has and does speak to us all.
In choosing a replacement Apostle for the deceased and apostate Judas, the method employed by the surviving Apostles was to “cast lots.” It is written: “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all mean, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:24-26.) The same method is used here by Apostles as had been used by the Lord’s crucifiers to divide up His clothing, as He was ganging on the cross in the last throes of dying. When we think of the Roman guards using it to divide Christ’s clothing, it becomes less inspired-looking and more homely. It looks more like expediency than revelation as a tool for choosing an Apostle. Yet, at the same time, this same process is built into the scriptures for the Church today, and is used in every disciplinary council to assign roles to the High Council. Without regard to feeling, emotion or desire, the lots are drawn and the assignments are made. These physical objects contain within them the Lord’s mind for organizing a council before whom the hearing takes place.
From Nephi’s casting lots to decide who would go to address Laban, to choosing a scapegoat, to choosing an Apostle, to choosing roles in a disciplinary court, casting of lots has been the way people of faith have determined God’s will for millennia. Through it God “speaks.” But it requires faith to see it in that light. For these are ordinary, even commonplace ways of making a decision. Only through faith does it acquire the “voice of God” in it.
We are unique, and God’s ways of speaking to each of us is as unique as each of us. We do ourselves a great disservice when we attempt to fit ourselves into a singular, stereotypical persona seeking only a singular way for God to talk with and to us. We make ourselves into something we aren’t, in the search to find what cannot be found that way. If we demand only the extraordinary before we will recognize His voice, we run the risk of looking in the wrong way for Him. His voice is there. He speaks to all of us. But we can miss it if we are not attuned to listen.
You may never be able to hear God speak to you in the way in which others hear Him. If you determine He must speak to you in a specific way, you can go a lifetime without ever having a conversation with Him. He longs to speak with each of us. Within each of us there is something uniquely attuned to Him. How He reaches out to you may be as singular and unique as you are and you can be assured He is reaching out. In fact, God is rather noisy, if you will allow Him to be. We were never intended to live without a direct connection to Him. Instead, we should hear His voice, and in time discover He is our “friend.”
 1 Kings 19:11-14: “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a astill small bvoice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very ajealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am bleft; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
 See Daniel, Chapter 2.
 See Genesis, Chapter 41.
 See Matthew, Chapter 2.
 Matt. 27:33-36: “And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of aa skull, They gave him avinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they acrucifiedhim, and bparted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my cgarments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there;
 See D&C 102:12-17: “Whenever a high council of the church of Christ is regularly organized, according to the foregoing pattern, it shall be the duty of the twelve councilors to cast lots by numbers, and thereby ascertain who of the twelve shall speak first, commencing with number one and so in succession to number twelve. Whenever this council convenes to act upon any case, the twelve councilors shall consider whether it is a difficult one or not; if it is not, two only of the councilors shall speak upon it, according to the form above written. But if it is thought to be difficult, four shall be appointed; and if more difficult, six; but in no case shall more than six be appointed to speak. The accused, in all cases, has a right to one-half of the council, to prevent insult or ainjustice. And the councilors appointed to speak before the council are to present the case, after the evidence is examined, in its true light before the council; and every man is to speak according to equity and ajustice. Those councilors who adraw even numbers, that is, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12, are the individuals who are to stand up in behalf of the accused, and prevent insult and binjustice.”
 1 Nephi 3:11.
 Leviticus 16:8: “And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.”
 See, e.g., D&C 84:77: “And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends,” among other places.