The DEEP

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

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Exodus 39:8-21 (ESV)

He made the breastpiece, in skilled work, in the style of the ephod, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. It was square. They made the breastpiece doubled, a span its length and a span its breadth when doubled. And they set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle was the first row; and the second row, an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They were enclosed in settings of gold filigree. There were twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They were like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes. And they made on the breastpiece twisted chains like cords, of pure gold. And they made two settings of gold filigree and two gold rings, and put the two rings on the two edges of the breastpiece. And they put the two cords of gold in the two rings at the edges of the breastpiece. They attached the two ends of the two cords to the two settings of filigree. Thus they attached it in front to the shoulder pieces of the ephod. Then they made two rings of gold, and put them at the two ends of the breastpiece, on its inside edge next to the ephod. And they made two rings of gold, and attached them in front to the lower part of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, at its seam above the skillfully woven band of the ephod. And they bound the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, so that it should lie on the skillfully woven band of the ephod, and that the breastpiece should not come loose from the ephod, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

What gives? The Urim and Thummim – which seemed central to the purpose of the breastpiece for making decisions when it was described earlier – aren’t even mentioned here.

Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.” – Exodus 28:30 (NIV)

Actually, this makes perfect sense. Here, the construction of the breastpiece is being described. The instruction in Exodus 28:30 wasn’t to make the Urim and Thummim; it was to put them in the breastpiece when entering the presence of the LORD. They already exist. We see this again in Leviticus 8:8.

And he placed the breastpiece on him, and in the breastpiece he put the Urim and the Thummim.(ESV)

The Urim and Thummim are for inquiring of the LORD when making important decisions. This reminds the people of their weaknesses and their dependence on God.


We should pray about any decision, but we make hundreds of them every day. Stopping to pray every time would be dysfunctional. What are we supposed to do?

Don’t stop. Pray without stopping to pray. Why be in contact with God one minute and out of touch the next? When you pray, don’t hang up. Spend the whole day with your eyes open.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 (ESV)


The weekly study guides, which include all six devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.