This is one more of the amazing things you will see when you read God’s word. I loved preaching about this to our church from Leviticus 8:8 and Exodus 28. Many Christians I’ve talked with in recent weeks have never heard of this. Go read it!
God instructed the Hebrew priests to carry the Urim and Thummim, two small, smooth stones, in the priestly breastpiece at all times. These two stones had markings on them similar to modern-day dice. If anyone needed God’s answer to a question or to make a decision, they asked the priest who used the stones just like rolling dice. The direct answer from God was given immediately. Urim is a Hebrew word that means “lights.” Thummim means “perfection” or “completion.” God gave His perfect light for their path and decisions. Amazing!
Did it work? Yes. God gave His people perfect direction through the Urim and Thummim. But He did even more than that. He exposed their hearts through their decision making. He exposed the false gods they worshipped and their unbelief in Him. Here’s how.
Not long after God gave them the Urim and Thummim, He instructed the Hebrews to enter the promised land of Canaan. Before they entered they sent 12 spies to search out the land (my fact checkers pointed out that I said 10 spies in my sermon – should have said 12). Two spies said, “Yes, let’s go.” But ten spies said, “No. Don’t go.” First of all there was no question as to what God wanted them to do. He had already told them to go. Bit if there had been doubt for some reason, they could have asked the priest for unmistakable clarification. But they didn’t. They knew exactly what God had told them, but they didn’t do it.
It’s one thing to desire God’s perfect answer to our questions. It’s quite a different thing to obey the answer that God gives. So God is after much more than simply giving people the right answer to their questions or them making the best decision. His higher aim is to transform faithless hearts into hearts that trust Him completely. His aim is to make people holy.
So in the New Testament God does something even greater. He sends the eternal and perfect priest, Jesus, who gives born again Christians something greater than the Urim and Thummim. He gives the Holy Spirit, who does more than role the dice. The Holy Spirit prays for us. We don’t even know what we should pray for. But He prays perfect prayers that lead us to actually become like Christ. Romans 8:26-29 says,
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.”
Then the Scripture goes on to tell us what we are to do next. The Apostle Paul said, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). Like the priest we are to offer a sacrifice. But it’s not an animal, it’s ourselves. We don’t kill ourselves but we live, doing what He commanded us. And the result is that then “you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).