Lots of Urim and Thummim and Honey


Honey. The Promised Land was flowing with milk and honey. Lots of Honey. Honey is such a powerful sweetener, made naturally by bees from the countless hours and seasons of work collecting from flowers. Wax too. Wax for candles to give light and sweet honey to nourish and delight. What a perfect gift of God: LIGHT and sweetness. Nourishment provided by His worker bees. Honey from flowers that live temporarily and wilt, even though they are dressed far more beautifully than kings… God provides. All life on earth is temporary, may it be sweet.

I saw a license plate cover that said: “Eat Local Honey”. True, local honey is good, and you KNOW where it came from. (Don’t buy unknown tainted honey). Light and goodness from God, you know where it came from. (Don’t look for tainted love or false hope). God’s LOVE is sweeter than sweet. 

Honey makes many appearances in scripture, a gift from God but got Jonathan into a sticky situation. Jonathan was King Saul’s son, and all were at battle against the Philistines. At a certain battle moment, God’s Hand confused the Philistines, allowing the Israelites to win over the Philistines. Later Jonathan (who started this latest battle) and his army walked thru the woods which flowed with honey, but there was an edict by his father King Saul not to eat anything during the day. Jonathan did not know this and yum, he scooped up some honey. He later learned of that forbidding edict during the day of battle.

Isn’t that one of those warning messages that Samuel (prophet and judge) gave the people who begged for a king, that a king could make crazy rules over them. God said – they have Me but they rejected me. Kings will take over and rule unjustly if they themselves don’t listen to God. It’s like the good gift of food was withheld by King Saul, even if for his own good reason. The honey gift from God was now trying to be withheld from the people whom were promised the honey in the first place. But earthly kings, especially Saul, were and are fallible. So are we.

There are very good health reasons why I shouldn’t and can’t eat the WHOLE jar of honey in my cabinet but really only a little is needed to sweeten my tea or plain yogurt. And adding honey myself, I can regulate the sugar. Unlike a sleeve of cookies, of empty calories, it seems I only need a little honey to satisfy. God’s gift to us is DISCERNMENT of proper things and if we pray, we ask for answers,  hopefully He gives us common sense and will power. Honey lasts like forever, almost like wisdom. 

Wisdom and discernment of God’s will, they never go bad… However there was a stretch of time that the Israelites used “drawing of lots” for determining what God’s answers were. If He didn’t speak advice, they “rolled the dice” assuming that He would answer. Urim and Thummim. Black and white rocks. Arrows up and down. Saul had to figure out WHY God was NOT answering his basic question, whether to go to battle or not, so he conjectured that someone had sinned or drawn them into more sin. They drew lots of Urim and Thummim. It was his son Jonathan. OH THAT HONEY. 

Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault, respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared.  Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.

A sticky situation. Saul even said: may God deal with you harshly… no forgiveness… But the army men knew that Jonathan was a good warrior and they rescued him, protected him from his own father’s edict. Protected him from his own failings. Who protects us from our own failings? Ah, the sweet Lord.

The Israelites continued in war, Saul had bitter days the rest of his life. God passed the Kingship to David who was a man after God’s heart. May we be like that too. May we look to our sweet Lord.

What’s the moral of this short long story?? The same lesson we’ve always known: listen to God, to the SWEET voice of God, the nourishing advice… the sweetness of Salvation comes from God keeping His Promise. Light comes from the glory of God, from the work of Jesus obeying his Father. We have been rescued. He WANTS us to taste HIS Promise.

Production of honey is not provided without cost or hard work, neither is Salvation. Yet God has flowed it to us for OUR PROMISED KINGDOM,  HIS!!!




1st Samuel 14:20-52

Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords.  Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.  When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit.  So on that day the Lord saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.

Jonathan Eats Honey

Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food.

The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out; yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath. But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened. Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be anyone who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.”

Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey.  How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?”

That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Mikmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood. Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the Lord by eating meat that has blood in it.”

“You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.” Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them, ‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the Lord by eating meat with blood still in it.’” So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. Then Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first time he had done this.

Saul said, “Let us go down and pursue the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.”

“Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied.

But the priest said, “Let us inquire of God here.”

So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that day. Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today. As surely as the Lord who rescues Israel lives, even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” But not one of them said a word.

Saul then said to all the Israelites, “You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here.”

“Do what seems best to you,” they replied.

Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault, respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared.  Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.

Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!”

Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.”

But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.

Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land. After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them. He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.

Saul’s Family

Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal. His wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul’s army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul’s uncle. Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel.

All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.

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