Vol.5, No. 42 – November 1, 2020
Consulting with stones — Ezra 2:61-63
The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until there should be a priest to consult Urim and Thummim. –Ezra 2:63
Imagine . . . if you would take a 900-mile journey through walking or riding on a donkey, or heaven forbid, a camel. That it would be a four-month trip. What route would you take? Where would you eat (Waffle House, or at Camelot)? Where would you stay at night—remember there are bands of robbers along the way. Would your Wi-Fi get the latest weather report? Where is the nearest Costco? Water would be good!
Really? There is no Motor club, travel agency, no one to give guidance as you enter nation after nation. Now some of these traveling had experience of going to “advisors” (that is the politically correct term for astrologers, fortunetellers, or agents of divination).
The text is not a suppose story. It is the account of 42,360 Jews (not including their male and female servants) returning to their nation, Judah, along with 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys (2:64-65). Wow!
If you do not know what to do, try Urim and Thummim. This mysterious method is what God draws Israel to use for leadership and wisdom. It is under the control of the High Priest (but really under the control of Almighty God). The High Priest wore a long sleeveless vest called an ephod, made of linen, and embroidered with a variety of bright colors. Attached to the bib is a pouch in which are kept the two precious gems . . . the Urim and Thummim.
Some say that each of these stones were flat on both sides; one side was Yes, the other side was No. A yes side, and a no side. The High Priest, tradition says, is to reach in the pouch and without looking, spill them out. If both landed “yes” God’s answer is positive. If both land “no” God’s response is negative. If the stones mix in answer, the position is “hold everything, do not go ahead,—wait.”
There are seven times in Scripture where stones used are to determine God’s will.
The intent is to take the decision-making out of their own hands, turning it over to the Lord.
It is certainly unlike the rolling of dice in Las Vegas, where a person is adamantly holding on to their luck; not seeking guidance. That is the plan of man, not of God. When a person walks with God, they always get to the destination God desires.
We do not use stones or dice, do we? No, well at least we should not depend on them. What we do have is God’s Word. God’s Word is always dependable, always wise, always the direction He desires us to go. If not direct, the principles given are for right decisions. Scripture, prayer, and counsel of people walking with God are far more dependable than stones.
God brought me here; it is by His will I am in this place; in that I can rest. He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this situation to behave as His child. He will make the situation a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn. In His good time, He can bring me out again, the how and when, He knows. –Andrew Murray
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God. –2 Corinthians 3:5
Consulting with stones, or God? – Ezra 2:61-63
Just an update: I had my shoulder replacement on Tuesday, October 27th. It was an eventful week. Following surgery, on Wednesday at 3am, we lost our power due to Hurricane Zeta (the Greek letter “Z” — the weather people ran out of names). The surgery, so far, is pretty much as expected. It is painful, but it is moving forward. It was eventful, because of my meds from surgery. The pills are not a problem taking under the flashlight, but the one medication is an injection. It is for a blood thinner, so that I will hopefully get blood clots. My wife, Donna, is the designated “shooter.” She was and is nervous about giving the shots, especially under low light and with me directing the flashlight and holding a section of my stomach where shot goes. So that is the eventful part. She is actually quite good, only making some bruises. And I am so kind. I am thinking I that it is a good thing to be!
I am in a sling for two weeks until the stitches are removed. The surgery will be inspected for infection (a high risk with this surgery, 1:200). If infection is noted within the shoulder (1:400), I will have to have further surgery to address the infection. The other risk is pneumonia. So there are breathing exercises and watchfulness to keep on top of this. Of course, the blood clot issue is quite defined and the symptoms have been made clear to me. The surgeon has been very transparent about the risks. I had a 96-hour nerve block and general anesthesia. All-in-all, I think I am doing OK. I am not sleeping well, but I do nap some in the day.
I am also able to get some writing done. I need to do that, not just to communicate to my blog readers, but also to keep my mind going and focused. I do thank the many who have expressed they are praying for Donna and I. One cannot help but sense the prayers of those who care for us. We really are thankful for your prayers.