Have you ever bought a lottery ticket and prayed to have the winning number? Millions of people buy lottery tickets on the remote possibility that they might win big. Truthfully, it takes millions of losers and a few random winners to keep the dream alive. Lottery corporations are making a killing because faint hope is big business.

In the story of Zachariah, he was a different kind of lottery winner. In the rotation of duties, it was a high honour to be selected to bring a sacrifice to the altar of incense. There were approximately 18,000 priests assigned in 24 divisions. Every six months, each priest would come to the Temple to perform duties for one week. The selection process would involve casting lots. We would compare it to rolling the dice or picking the short stick.

The practice of casting lots was used when a decision needed to be made and as a way to invite God to pick the winner beyond human wisdom. If you believe that God is the mechanical Creator of the world, then it is not far-fetched to believe that he can affect which lot is chosen for some sacred responsibility.

The choosing of a person for a godly task is not a game, but there is an element in which many can be called and a few chosen through a process that removes human control.

Because of the large number of priests, most would never be chosen for such a duty, and no one was permitted to serve in this capacity twice. Zachariah no doubt regarded this as the supreme moment in a lifetime of priestly service. The incense was kept burning perpetually, just in front of the veil that divided the holy place from the most holy place. The lone priest would offer the incense every morning and every evening, while the rest of the priests and worshipers stood outside the holy place in prayer.[1]

[1] MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV)