Summary: Do you need some help from God about what to do? Israel had the Urim and Thummim, but what do we have today?
Stones of Decision
Bible reference - Ex. 28:15-30
A. Making a decision can be hard. Sometimes, you are between two choices and both seem okay, but you want more than okay, you want the right choice. You want God’s choice. How do you know God’s will for your life?
B. My father told me this past week about when he graduated from Sunset School of Preaching he could either preach in Wisconsin or in Australia. He wanted to raise the support and go to Australia, but a church wanted him in Wisconsin. He wanted to know what God wanted. He and my mom prayed, but there seemed to be no answer. So he decided that he would put God in a coin – that is, he would flip a coin. If it was heads he would go to Australia, tails, Wisconsin. This was more than fate, chance or a simple toss of the coin. This was the will of God. He threw the coin up – watched – it landed. Tails. He was to go to Wisconsin. But he really wanted to go to Australia. Maybe God wasn’t in the coin, or maybe God wanted two out of three. So he tossed the coin again. He remembers the second toss, but not sure which way it fell. He really didn’t believe God would make a decision through a coin toss.
C. But putting God’s will in a coin toss is not really extraordinary. People have tried lots of ways to know what they should do. I remember growing up the fad was the “Magic 8 Ball.” I would ask a question (“does Susie like me?) shake it up and read the answer. (“Yes, without a doubt.”)
D. In the Bible we often read of people “casting lots.” God directed those lots. These people believed that the will of God would be shown in the lots. When God first directed how Aaron as the High Priest was to choose which goat was to be sacrificed and which was to be the scapegoat, God commanded Aaron to cast lots. The New Testament also records that when it came time to choose who should become an Apostle and numbered with the 11 after the death of Judas, they cast lots between two men, and the lots fell upon Matthias.
E. But there was another why to know the will of God. When a very important decision was to be made the High Priest, dressed in his ephod with the stones of each tribe upon it would use the Urim and Thummim that were put into the breast-pocket to divine God’s will.
I. Stones of Decision
A. Wouldn’t it be great to take a couple of stones and use them to know exactly what God wanted you to do? Some say that these words mean “light” and “perfection”. Scholars think these gems were cast to aid the high priest in making important decisions.
B. These stones of decision were either in, on, or by the high priest’s breastplate. Often the breastplate is called the breastplate of judgment or breastplate of decision. Most believe the top part of the breastplate was not sown, making it like a pocket or pouch and the Urim and Thummim were placed inside it.
C. Only a priest could use the stones to discern the will of God. When Joshua succeeded Moses, he was to have answers from the Urim and Thummim through Aaron’s son Eleazar. When King Saul sought direction from the witch of Endor it was because he received no answer from God either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.
D. No one really knows how these stones or gems were used. They seem to be understood without question by the people using them. But the purpose of them was to understand the will of God. Today we don’t have Urim and Thummim to help us know what the will of God is. What we do have is Jesus Christ. “He is our Oracle; by him God in these last days makes known himself and his mind to us. (Matthew Henry’s Commentary)”
E. Heb. 1:1-4 helps us to see that God speaks today through his Son. People have missed the message for centuries. We go looking for God in things, in nature, in mystics and magic. God reveals himself and his will through Jesus.
F. Up on the mountain where Jesus was transfigured, Moses and Elijah appeared. Peter, James and John wanted to make three tabernacles – making Moses and Elijah equal with Jesus. But they missed the message, so God made it clear. A cloud came and enveloped them all. In the cloud God spoke these words, “This is my Son, whom I love, listen to him.” (Matt. 17:1-5)
G. Through Jesus we have come to know the Father. But how can Jesus help us today? Through Jesus we can prayer and God will help us. We also have through Jesus the Holy Spirit who inspired holy men to write down for us the wonderful gift of the Bible. These two gifts from Jesus can be our stones of decision today.