I’ve heard a little chatter in the past about the Umin and Thummim being a form of divination. Well, being that a self-proclaimed priest couldn’t eat of the sacred table unless the confirmed priests were ministering the Umin and Thummim, we might have to push back against that charge (Ezra 2:63). In accordance to the Umin and Thummim, the worthiness of the self-proclaimed priest would be confirmed or denied.
This charge of divination also gets levied at Gideon with his fleeces. I’ve heard preachers diminish Gideon’s legacy, saying that using a fleece was tantamount to requiring an omen. Some teachers have expressed surprise that God overlooked this, let alone granted Gideon’s faithless request to be given a clear confirmation to God’s directions. As God indisputably condemns reading omens in His derisive assessment of Manasseh, we should not read God’s judgement into passages where it is not explicitly written down (2 Chronicles 33).
The holiday established in the Book of Esther, Purim, means “lots.” I guess I should define Umin and Thummim here: they were the sacred lots. Like a die rolled to make a decision.
Lots show up in the New Testament also. The Roman guards cast lots for who got Jesus’ robes at the crucifixion. The disciples cast lots to decide between two candidates for an apostle to replace Judas Iscariot.
The implication of the Umin and Thummim was that whatever way the die settled was the will of God on a subject. How is this different from gambling or tea leaf reading? Particularly being that in Esther and the gospels the lots were cast by unbelievers in the same way that the “sacred lots” were cast by priests. How is this not a pagan holdover in ancient Hebrew practice?
Again let me emphasize that in an unknowable situation, like whether someone claiming to be in the priestly line without adequate genealogical proof, the priests yielded to the decision making authority of the Umin and Thummim. The implication is that the priests didn’t operate in their own wisdom, but after prayer, searching the available proofs and scripture, awaiting heavenly messengers or a manifestation of the presence of YHWH Himself, the Umin and Thummim were taken as the voice of God on a topic.
My husband and I have had so many big decisions to make in the last three years. They’ve often been under pressure– like the decisions Gideon had to make. Gideon was war weary after years of psychological torture and terror wrecked on his people by enemy tribes. We felt a bit like that! So Gideon’s need for fleeces to confirm God’s word makes sense to me. Sometimes you are suffering so much from the complex trauma of years of being beaten down that God has to speak to you in myriad ways through multiple avenues to give you enough confidence to walk in the authority He has given you.
However, we began to depend on fleeces to the extent that we didn’t really want to grapple with decision making. Rather than bathing in prayer, pleading the blood of Jesus over our lives, and rooting our stand in scripture, we’d say, “If this really specific thing happens, then we’ll make this decision.” THAT is an omen. That is saying “just give me a sign, Lord so I don’t have to think about what is right in this moment.”
That is not the Umin and Thummim.
We wrestle, we war, having done all to stand we stand even still in God’s armor. We don’t lazily consign to what happens and take it as a sign that God’s will must be in operation.
Everything we work through in the physical is part of a churning that is happening in the spiritual. God calls us to much richer participation in His realm than just– “oh it happened and God’s sovereign so, ce la vie.”
We can miss the boat on God’s will. We can end up sitting out on assignments God had us slotted for. Think of Barak and Deborah! When we don’t want to make a decision and walk in God’s authority, well, then we have not because we ask not!
In the United States, we are in election season. At the end of the day the votes will be cast. It will be difficult for one contingent or another to accept the outcome as authoritative. But!, you’ll have no spiritual platform to stand on in those accusations if you have not contended in the Spirit about who to vote for.
If you have not wrestled in the Spirit– not in your ideology or politics or feelings, but in the Spirit– regarding who the Lord is establishing over America for His purposes in this epoch, then you have no grounds to dissent.
We are told in God’s Word that the people get the leaders they deserve. We are told that God judges or delivers His people through their leaders. Interesting that the word for “judge” in Hebrew can also be interpreted as “deliverer.”
Have you ever considered that God doesn’t vote like you, because who He elects isn’t always for the victory of the people? Who He elects is for His purpose, whether to prosper or to sift, whether to till or to harvest.
Would you ever vote against your party because the Lord has put a painful, disjointing revelation in your spirit about what He is doing through elected officials that you don’t like?