Luck, Chance, or Providence

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March 17, 2016 by Joseph Krohn

LuckUse of the Word Luck: 

  • “The Luck of the Irish” – if you capture a leprechaun they would give you luck.
  • Tough Luck, Hard Luck, Good Luck, Down on your luck, Out of Luck, Pure Luck, Beginner’s Luck, Lady Luck, Wish Me Luck, Lucky, Bad Luck, Luck Dog, Don’t press your luck, etc.
  • What does luck mean?
  1. The chance happening of fortunate or adverse events.
  2. Good fortune or prosperity; success; to gain success or something desirable by chance, i.e. “I lucked out in finding a free coffee in roll up the rim to win.”
  • Is there really such a thing as luck? Why do we often have phrases that include it in our vocabulary? [Society wishes for more, something for nothing, often without work, i.e. a majority of Canadians retirement plans include winning the lottery]


  • What does the Bible say about luck? Do things really happen by chance?  Is there such a thing as a lucky or unlucky person? 

NLT Ecclesiastes 9:11 I have observed something else in this world of ours. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise are often poor, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being at the right place at the right time. 12 People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a snare, people are often caught by sudden tragedy.

(V.11) “the race is not to the swift” – our abilities are of no guarantee to success.

  • What does “time and chance” have to with it? – Chance – means event; occurrence – nothing to do with gambling; our confidence is in God; Stephen Leacock said “I’m a great believer in luck. I find that the harder I work the more I have it.”

(v.12) “For a man knoweth not his time” – who knows when trouble will arrive on the scene and wreck all of our good plans; evil can destroy us just like a fish is got in a net or a bird in a snare.

  • What causes these “evil times” to fall upon us?  [Sometimes it is of our own making; sometimes it is because of other peoples sins; other times it is because we live in a fallen world].

(v.13-15) – our opportunities are no guarantee of success

Ecclesiastes 9:18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.

Illustration: Alexander the Great coming to destroy the city of Lampsacus; his old teacher came out; suspecting his plan to intercede for the city told him I will not do anything you ask; teacher asked “destroy this city.”

2 Chronicles 18:33 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture [at random], and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.

  • Was this a lucky shot? [No – ESV 2 Chronicles 18:18 And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. 19 And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another].

ESV Ruth 2:3 So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech.

  • Did Ruth really, just “happen” to find the right field? [Ruth 4:14 And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.]

Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing/ decision (God determines) thereof is of the LORD.

  • What are some examples of God’s sovereignty/providence at work?
  1. Joshua 7 – God using lots to lead Joshua to Achan as the guilty culprit
  2. Job 1 – God allowed the testing
  3. Joseph’s years in Egypt – Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
  4. Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased/wishes/desires.

God is in CONTROL and He CARES about you:

Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

John 9:1-7  “Who sinned? This man or his parents that he should be born blind?  Jesus: “Neither, he was born blind, so that God’s works/plans can be manifested/revealed in his life.”

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Luck 2


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