by Tess Cameron

Tess Cameron
Tess Cameron

I was led on an interesting journey through the Bible a while ago. It started with a specific scripture about threshing, through many word studies to a few revelations about life's trials.

Let me start by explaining what a threshing floor was/is. A threshing floor was a hard, usually stone floor, upon which another stone was rolled. This second stone was often fixed in the center and was turned in a circular motion by an ox, donkey or mule. The purpose was to crush wheat/grains between the stones so as to separate the kernel (edible part) from the husk/shell. Treading on or beating the grain were other methods. The winnowing fan was then used to blow the lightweight husks away, while the kernel, too heavy to fly, remained. From this, bread was made. Separating the good (useful) from the bad (useless) was thus the threshing floor's purpose.

In the spiritual analogy, the good would be everything that aligns itself with God's purpose, promise, nature, word and will. The bad would be everything that is contrary to God's purpose, promise, nature, word and will.

King David sins against God and is given a choice of three disciplines - a number of years of famine, three months being pursued by their enemies or three days of the sword of the Lord and pestilence. David, whose heart was after God and (according to Psalm 119) longed for God's judgments was always quick to repent and return to God - even after the most wicked crimes. On this occasion he says "..let me fall into the hands of the living God for his mercies are great..."

King David was commanded to go to the threshing floor of Araunah/Ornan where he repented from his sin and asked for mercy from God's judgment on the people (2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21).

God forgave him. In fact God forgives and redeems him to the extent that David's son and successor Solomon builds the temple on the very same place, the threshing floor of Ornan! (2 Chronicles 3:1).

Although it was David's sin that brought the discipline, it was his desire for God's righteous judgment, (God's separating the good from the sin), that took him to the threshing floor.

If we too, in our sin, will run to the threshing floor of repentance and surrender and allow a loving Father to separate the good from the bad, we too will find that the temple (the presence) of God can be built in that very place.

In the story of Gideon (Judges 6), the winepress, where pressure also separates the useless skin from the juice, has the same analogy as the threshing floor. Gideon is found in the winepress not because of sin, but because of circumstances. Gideon is threshing in a winepress to hide from his enemies, the Midianites, who are persecuting Israel by destroying their crops and stealing their animals. The Angel of the Lord (according to scholars, Jesus Himself) finds Gideon in the winepress and reveals to him that he is to deliver Israel from their enemies. Just a humble farmer, Gideon begins to argue/negotiate his failings and inadequacies with God. He does however eventually allow God to separate the good (God's will and purpose) from the bad (his own doubts and lack of faith) and obeys God's call.

Gideon goes on to deliver Israel and the princes of Midian are killed in a winepress! It's interesting to note that in a dream, the enemy sees Gideon as a loaf of bread rolling into their camp and destroying them.

If we will also allow God to thresh/separate the good (God's will, purpose and who he says we are) from the bad (our own fear and doubt), we too will do more than we believed possible.

The third story is that of Ruth. She was a Moabite woman, who, after losing her husband, decides to trek to Bethlehem with her Jewish mother-in-law. Ruth humbles herself and CHOOSES to go to the threshing floor of Boaz, her Mother-in-law's relative. That night, she simply lies at his feet and he tells her what she is to do. He comforts her, makes her his bride and redeems her from a loveless future. Ruth came to Bethlehem which means "house of bread", chose to be threshed and in marrying Boaz literally became part of the genealogy of Christ, the Bread of life who would eventually be born in the Bethlehem, the "house of Bread".

Let us, when we have sinned, not run from God but to Him as David did, repent and allow the good to be separated from the bad.

When, like Gideon, we find ourselves trapped in difficult circumstances, we too need to separate what God is saying, teaching and urging us to believe from our own fears and doubts. The very best is Ruth's route - we too do best when we voluntarily lay ourselves at the feet of our bridegroom (Jesus is referred to as the groom in scripture) and allow Him to separate the things in our lives that do not conform to His will. We too will be comforted and redeemed.

Why is it that we can choose to make ourselves so vulnerable to the refining/separating within these times of threshing? By faith we believe God's word that says that "His precious thoughts for us are more than the sands of the sea" and that "He disciplines those He loves." The Hebrew definition of "threshes" is "to separate..without loss of pristine character". We thus know that whatever is good will not be lost in the process.

The glory of the wheat comes after the threshing in the bread.
The glory of the grape comes after the pressing in the wine.
The glory of the olive comes after the pressing in the oil.
The glory of the church (the individual and the corporate) too comes after the refining, in the Glorious church, the bride without spot or blemish!  CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.