Many want a crystal ball to know the future. Something like the Magic 8 Ball.
If you’ve never had one, it’s a hard, black ball that fits in your hand with a magic window that provides a message. Ask a question, turn the ball over, and the answer appears in the window. It might say, “Decidedly so.”; “Don’t count on it.”; or “Maybe later.” Basically — “Yes,” “No,” or “Not now.”
Surprisingly, there’s a Magic 8 Ball in Scripture — I’m completely serious. It appears in Exodus as Moses leads God’s people from slavery in Egypt to the Promised land. Ask God a question and the Urim and Thummim would give a “Yes,” “No,” or “Not now” answer.
Urim (pronounced u-REEM in Hebrew) and Thummim (teh-MEEM) means Lights and Perfections. As you’ve probably guessed, Scripture’s Magic 8 Ball came in a two pack. Only the high priest carried them and only in a hidden compartment.
The Urim and Thummim were used to decide matters of national importance. In Moses’ last days, God tells him to stand Joshua before the people as their new leader. The Lord says, “ … the priest … shall inquire … of the Urim before the Lord.” Numbers 27:21
God wanted His people to see with their own eyes that Joshua had been chosen.
When King Saul faced the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, he sought God’s guidance from the Urim. Scripture says this is a “Not now” moment.
“When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets.” 1 Samuel 28:6
Why? Because of Saul’s disobedience.
Saul must go to the Witch of Endor to learn his fate. 1 Samuel 28:4-19, 31:1-6
The Urim and Thummim were also used to prove priestly lineage when it couldn’t be traced. Ezra 2:63, Nehemiah 7:65
As I said, these powerful objects were kept in a hidden compartment. Exodus describes this matter in detail.
The high priest wore a robe, covered by an “ephod,” a linen apron. On that ephod rested a breastplate consisting of 12 precious stones, each representing one of the tribes of Israel. The compartment for the Urim and Thummim was behind the breastplate.
“You shall put in the breastpiece of judgment the Urim and the Thummim and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the Lord…” Exodus 28:30
“He then placed the breastpiece on him, and in the breastpiece he put the Urim and the Thummim.” Leviticus 8:8
But what did they look like and how did they work?
No one knows for sure. Lion and Lamb ministries claims Jewish sources say the Thummim were actually two identical stones, one black and one white. If the priest brought forth a white stone it meant “yes;” black meant “no.” The Urim was a different type of stone that would glow with lights to confirm the Thummim’s answer.
Maybe that’s so and maybe not. Whatever they were and however they worked, the Urim and Thummim are lost to us. We won’t know the future.
Perhaps the real question is what happens to a nation divided.
Remember how the mob cornered a man, throwing rocks until he fell to the ground. When it was over, they dragged his lifeless body from the city.
It’s there that his friends found him. Before they could summon help, the man reached out his arms and legs, lifted his body, and returned to life — apparently a resurrection. This was the Apostle Paul.
Christian persecution isn’t new and still happens across the world.
Paul didn’t spend the next week resting, not even the next day. He didn’t question God. He got up and continued on, walking to the next city to share Jesus.
Nothing had changed. Acts 14:19-23
Paul said, “… God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
It’s God who decides the future. The Lord is in control and He will always guard and guide the faithful.
Stay close to Him.
Copyright © 2020 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved.