18 Casting the lot settles disputes
and keeps strong opponents apart.
19 A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city;
disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.
The more hostile a dispute, the greater the need for an unbiased resolution. Casting lots factors the opinions of man out of the equation, allowing the Lord to weigh in. This was how the land was distributed among the Israelites (Numbers 26:55), the draft was decided when there was no king (Judges 20:9), and Jonah’s fault was exposed (Jonah 1:7).
“A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.” The most difficult conflicts are often within a family, the most dangerous anger is that which is justified. The Lord may have spoken through lots in the old days, but today he speaks through his word. Matthew 18 gives us the key to conflict resolution. We are to forgive those who wrong us, neither by lots nor by merit, but in response to the forgiveness the Lord has extended to us.