The issue of lottery and gambling looks more threatening to this generation because patrons of lotteries argue that, there is no biblical passage that overtly speaks to forbid the act. Most liberal Christians who engage in the act cite casting of lot in both Old and New Testament to support their argument.
There is limited access for modern readers of the Bible to understanding what lots exactly mean. Some scholars suggest they could have been some type of sticks, flatter stones, a made dice, or something similar. The comparison most often used today would be to that of flipping a coin. For today, flipping a coin is often a way to settle a dispute without arguing, deciding what to do, and a way of keeping the peace between two or more interested parties.
In the Old testament, God specifically instructed them to do this as a fair way of dividing up the land. (Numbers 26:55). The act was repeated a number of times in the Old Testament, especially within the book of Numbers. In Jonah 1:7, the sailors on board the ship with Jonah decided to cast lots in order to determine who had caused God’s anger to go against their ship.
In the New Testament, the casting of lots is not as prominently shown, but it is still visible. In Acts 1:26, the Apostles cast lots in order to find out who should replace Judas. It appears that casting lots was not limited to serious matters. While Jesus was hanging on the cross, Matthew 27:35 says that the soldiers who were nearby started casting lots in order to get his clothing.
It is clear from the above reasons that the purpose for the practice was to make decisions, find out God’s will on a particular subject/ topic, and to fairly close a matter between two or more parties. It is interesting to note that financial gain was never a reason for the casting of lots in the Bible.