1 Samuel 28:6 And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD
answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
e started last time looking at the subject of
hearing the voice of God. And we saw that God speaks in the spirit of the believer, and
that in order to hear God speak, the believer has to simply learn to listen to his or her
own spirit. In future studies I will be giving you ways of developing an awareness of your
own spirit and exercises to do to increase this capacity. This is a Scriptural thing
developing the senses through practice and exercise.
Hebrews 5: 14 But strong meat belongs to those that are of full
age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good
But today I want to speak about something that started in the Old Testament and is now
probably the simplest way to hear the voice of God. In the passage concerning Saul
enquiring of God, we are told that God did not answer him by dreams, by Urim or by
prophets. We will be considering all of these and some more as we proceed with this
series, but today I want to start with the Urim.
The word Urim is found in a few places in the Old Testament, and it includes also the
term Thummim. You can try looking these up in your Bible concordance if you have a good
one like Strongs. But the passages do not tell us a whole lot about what exactly
these two items were. It seems they were part of the priests equipment, and they had
something to do with finding out the will of God.
Now there are several theories concerning what these were and how they were used, so I
will not try to prove anything, but just give you the theories. It does not matter how
they operated, but the principle remains the same. Some say that the two were stones in
the priests breastplate. When someone wanted to know the will of God, they would
pray and ask a question that could be answered with a yes or no answer. And then God would
answer by causing one of the stones to glow. If the Urim glowed then the answer was Yes.
If the Thummim glowed, then the answer was No.
So it would work like this. If you wanted direction from God you would call a priest
who was wearing an ephod. And then you would pray and ask God your question. "Lord
should we have hamburgers for supper, or steak?" (Well havent you heard some
dumb prayers before?) And then God would answer by making the correct stone glow, and you
would know which way to go.
But seriously, this is one of the ways that people would find out from the Lord what
they should do. You can find an example of this in 1 Samuel 23
9 And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against
him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring here the ephod.
10 Then David said, O LORD God of Israel, your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks
to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake.
11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as your
servant has heard? O LORD God of Israel, I ask of you, tell your servant. And the LORD
said, He will come down.
12 Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?
And the LORD said, They will deliver [you] up.
Now there is another theory about how the Urim and Thummim worked. And this is that the
ephod contained a pouch at the side, like a pocket. And in this pouch there were two
stones kept one black and the other white. This is based on Revelation 2: 17
To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and
will give him a white stone
The idea here was that after praying, the priest would reach his hand into the pouch
and remove one of the stones. If the white stone came out the answer was Yes, but the
black stone meant a No answer. This is a bit different in operation, but the principle is
still the same. God would answer with a Yes or No. So you couldnt ask "Lord who
will I marry?" You would have to take all the suitable prospects and ask one at a
time. "Is it John?" Nope. "Is it Peter?" Nope. If you dont get
any Yess then you havent found him yet. ;-)
Well, since under the New Covenant we have far more than they had under the Old, how
come God took away the Urim and Thummim? It was the function of the priest to operate
this, since all priests wore an ephod. But now in the New Testament we dont have any
priests any more so where do we go? Well the good news is that God did not take away the
Urim and Thummim. We do still have priests in the New Testament.
1 Peter 2: 5 You also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual
house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus
We as believers are the priests of the New Testament. And we also carry an ephod that
distinguishes from the rest it is the spirit of God within. And your spirit also
contains a Urim and Thummim, that will tell whether you are going in the right direction
or not. Have you ever wondered how Paul knew that he was not supposed to go in the
directions he planned in Acts 16:6-7 ?
6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of
Galatia, and were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia,
7 After they were come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit did not
permit them to.
It was by the spiritual Urim and Thummim that is built into every believer. Some have
called this the Peace of God, based on Colossians 3:15
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also
you are called in one body; and be thankful.
Others have likened it to a spiritual umpire that regulates our
behavior and tells us when we are out of line. But it works exactly the same. It is an inner sense
that you are moving in the right direction or a total block in the spirit, which makes you
realize that you are going in the wrong direction. Have you ever opened your mouth to pray
for something or someone, and it feels like you have cotton wool in your mouth? It is your
Thummim saying, "You are praying wrong."
Have you thought about going in a certain direction, and suddenly your spirit leaps up
inside you with a "yeah, yeah?" That is your spiritual Urim flashing. It is
telling you that this is of God and you are going in the right direction. And you have
probably learned through bitter experience that when you choose to ignore or directly
oppose that inner witness, you get yourself into hot water.
But what is happening here? How does this work? Well quite simply it is your spirit
pouring forth an influence, not upon your mind, but upon your emotions. The spiritual Urim
and Thummim are emotional experiences, and although they are very strong and clear, there
is also a danger that what you are feeling is nothing more than a trigger caused by an
inner template, based on your current circumstances. So whilst this way of hearing from
God is a common and easy one to receive, it is not always the best means to use for full
clarification of what God is saying to you.
(If you dont know what I mean by triggers and templates, please read my study on
this subject under our Bible Studies section, in the spiritual group, and under the topic
So God speaks by many different means. And each one has its benefits and time and
place. As you learn to use all of these methods, you can come to the place where you can
always find out which way to go. You can always hear the voice of God, at any time. And by
exercising some of the spiritual senses you have, you can come to the place where these
inner influences become as strong as hearing someone speak to you in an audible voice.
What we have been discussing applies to every believer and not only the Prophet. In
fact all of the ways of hearing the voice of God that I am going to be discussing are
available to anyone. You dont have to be a prophet to exercise it. The only
difference between an ordinary believer hearing from God and a prophet hearing from God,
is that the average believer will hear from the Lord, things concerning themselves. The
prophet, on the other hand, hears from God on behalf of another.
We will discuss this further in due time as we go deeper into the ministry of the