This is a topic that gets little attention. I had a fellow tell me a couple of months ago that Matthias wasn't legitimate because the others circumvented God's will by using lots. This was my response to him and I offer it for your consideration.
Why did God use lots in Scripture and where?
The choosing of Matthias actually originates in prophecy spoken of in the book of Psalm. The first part of Acts 1:20 refers to Psalm 69:25,
"For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take."
Saying the habitation of Judas would be desolate is saying he would be removed.
The second part of Acts 1:20 comes from Psalm 109:8 which says Judas's office(position)would be filled by someone else. Peter quoted these two Psalms to reassure his fellow disciples that Judas's leaving fulfilled prophecy. This was no accident or man-made change.
What are the qualifications for an apostle according to God's Word? Read on through Acts 1:21-25,
"Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, 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."
There were three requirements:
-He had to have been with the other disciples and Jesus from the baptism of John to the ascension.
-He had to be a witness of Christ's resurrection.
-He had to be chosen by God.
Two men that met these qualifications were chosen for candidates for the position vacated by Judas: Matthias and Joseph(Barsabbas). So now that the apostles have chosen two candidates according to God's Word what did they do? Look at Acts 1:24 again,
"And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen"
They prayed because they knew the new apostle had to be chosen by God. Only He knew which was the right man. He chose the others and they left it to Him to choose the twelfth also. So we read in Acts 1:26,
"And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."
Now your next question may well be something like,
"was it wrong for the men to draw lots?"
"why did they draw lots?"
Again this takes us back to the old Testament(Isn't it awesome how all Scripture is in perfect harmony?). In the Old Testament God used this method several times to manifest His will. 1 Samuel 14:37-42 says,
"And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel? But he answered him not that day.
And Saul said, Draw ye near hither, all the chief of the people: and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day.
For, as the LORD liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. But there was not a man among all the people that answered him.
Then said he unto all Israel, Be ye on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side. And the people said unto Saul, Do what seemeth good unto thee.
Therefore Saul said unto the LORD God of Israel, Give a perfect lot. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped.
And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken."(emphasis mine)
God used various ways to communicate His will. Sometime He spoke directly from Heaven, sometimes through prophets, sometimes through the Urim and Thummin stored in the breastplate of the hight priest. In the book of Jonah, God wanted disobedient Jonah to be thrown out of the ship so when the men cast lots to determine who should be thrown out, God made certain that the lot fell on Jonah. You also see God using this method in Leviticus 16:8-10
"And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.
But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness."
and in Numbers 26:55-56
"Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.
According to the lot shall the possession thereof be divided between many and few."
One thing to notice is that Acts 1 is the last time Scripture mentions God working through lots. God has chosen to reveal His will by the leading of the Holy Spirit within us. They knew from experience and God's previous methods that He would show His choice through the selection of lots. Proverbs 16:33 confirms this,
"The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD."
God was and is in complete control. God chooses those who serve him, and every person's eternal destiny is determined by what he does with Christ. Matthias became an apostle because God chose him, and Judas went to hell because he rejected Christ from the beginning. God knew Judas's heart before he was formed in his mother's womb; He knew Judas would deny Him; and God used this to further His eternal purpose for us.