Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Threshing Floor

I was reading one of my favourite blogs and I saw a post that touched my heart so deeply that tears started rolling down my face, at 8.30am on a Saturday morning...! Not sad tears just "overwhelmed and touched by God" tears. It was all about the threshing floor...

Threshing floors are open flat areas, like barns without walls, that are used to process the grain that is brought in from the fields. The grain is tossed into the air and the lighter chaff which is useless is blown away. The heavier grain separates and falls to the floor, then is gathered for grinding. Threshing floors are usually on high ground where the wind is stronger as the wind assists in the winnowing and separating of grain from chaff.

The threshing floor is a simile for a place of testing or trials from God and was a very important place throughout history. Incredible God encounters happened for people like Joseph's brothers (Genesis 50:10) and Ruth/ Boaz (Ruth) on threshing floors. But the encounter that captured my attention was between David and God in 1 Chronicles 21.

David found Himself on the threshing floor owned by Araunah. He was there because He had sinned and God told him to go to the threshing floor. Now we are not where we are because of sin- infertility is NOT a punishment but the thing to note is that David went to the threshing floor willingly. I am sure you are the same as us with hearts that long to be used by God. We have surrendered ourselves and our hearts willingly and so by following Him in obedience we have found ourselves here, on the threshing floor of our lives.
I think its also important that threshing floors are high up. God is found in high places and that fact that the threshing floors are high means that we have had to walk up to them. We make a choice to seek Him.

David was in pain. In fact his heart was breaking. But he did an incredible thing. He built an alter to God on the threshing floor, at the place of his testing and in the middle of his pain. David had bought the threshing floor from Araunah for full price because he would not build an alter to God that had not cost him something. And we know what it costs to build an alter to God in the middle of our threshing floor- the trial and struggle of infertility. Sometimes it costs almost more than I have to lift up my hands and worship Him. The struggle to surrender when I know that He could rescue me and for the moment chooses not to, is intense. But I know that I need to.
Building an alter during times of suffering is of incredible beauty. Suffering and surrender are the most bittersweet partners. Together they give us access to the heart of God. We gain a picture of God that we couldn't otherwise. When we worship from this place we do it from a new depth that is created by our surrender.

But it was the next part of this blog that touched my heart so deeply. I felt redemption and hope. In Chronicles 3: 1, Solomon built the temple of God on the threshing floor of Aruanah. The very place that David had built his alter and was the place of his testing and ordeal would now be the site for the most amazing building to ever be built. The building that represented God, the one that He designed to reflect His Glory and His beauty.

For me this was confirmation and promise. On the threshing floor of infertility God promises to build a temple. A temple so beautiful that people will marvel at what He has done.
Our shabby little threshing floor with it's bloodstained and tear soaked alter where we have laid down our dreams again and again as burnt offerings, will be redeemed. Will be restored and made into something beautiful. I am redeemed.


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