Fr. Athanasius asks, "Is the Altar Lot Infallible?"

Some naive people advocate the view that since there is an altar lot, then what happens in the election that precedes the altar lot does not matter, since God will reveal his will anyway through the altar lot.

To these people I would like to tell a joke I heard in one of the ecumenical meetings I attended, about a pastor, who takes the money in the collection box, throws it up and says: Lord, take what you want and leave me the rest! We will not be any different if we use suspect practices in the elections that precede the altar lot. How can we ask God to reveal his will to us if the elections bring 3 bishops as the winners of the largest number of votes? Shall we tell God: If you wish to choose a monk to be the next Patriarch then do a miracle and let the altar lot produce the name of a monk? In the Old Testament book of Ezekiel we have an important lesson: 

 

Ezek 14:1-4  Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,  Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?  Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols
 
The elders of the Jews came to ask God to reveal to them His will, whether they should go to Egypt or remain under tribute to Babylon (which what the prophets of God told them many times) but they have decided already what they want to do. The Lord told Ezekiel that anyone who does this will get the wrong answer! The idols referred to are the pre-conceived ideas and desires in the heart of the person seeking the will of God, and unless the person (or persons) are sincere in their desire to know the will of God, God's answer will be according to the multitude of his idols. 
 
Later on, the Lord tells Ezekiel:
 
Ezek 14:7,9  For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself:...  And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet.
 
It is very clear that the Lord will give us a deceiving result from the altar lot unless we are honest in conducting the elections in integrity and according to the canons. David the prophet confirms this to us in Psalm 18:26:
 
With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. (NKJV)