With Shouts of Joy

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You visit the earth and water it;

You greatly enrich it;

the river of God is full of water;

You provide their grain,

for so You have prepared it.

You water its furrows abundantly,

settling its ridges,

softening it with showers,

and blessing its growth.

Psalm 65:9-10

God sends His rain to the earth…this place we call home now.  Earth.  He sends rain by His will, by the ways He so pleases.  We may experience drought or flooding for these are part of living on this earth.

Our spiritual lives sometimes suffer drought or flooding as well.  Too much input, busyness can leave us with little room for God.  Too little time spent with God can cause thirst for Him.  Sometimes we do not even know what we are thirsty for, yet we know that we are.  “Our hearts are dry and barren unless God Himself be as the dew to us and water us; and the plants of His own planting He will water and make them to increase.”  Matthew Henry

I recall searching hard and long for something that I was missing, yet I did not know what that was.  Years later, through many trials, through many seasons of drought and floods, I found Jesus.  Jesus was Who I needed.  I needed to know Him personally.  He would give me Living Water and I would no longer be thirsty.  The fruit of the Spirit could grow in me and then be harvested from me, from my field of new plantings.  This field becomes rich in nutrients and water from the One Who is the Living Waters.  I grow and pray I will continue to grow.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  James 1:17

“…; we must lift up our eyes above the hills, lift them up to the heavens, where the original springs of all blessings are, out of sight, and thither must our praises return, as the first-fruits of the earth were in the heave-offerings lifted up towards heaven by way of acknowledgment that thence they were derived.  All God’s blessings, even spiritual ones, are expressed by His raining righteousness upon us.”  Matthew Henry

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You crown the year with Your bounty;

Your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy.

Psalm 65:11-13

Everything in His world rejoices over the bounty of His harvest…the pastures, the hills, the meadows, the valleys.  There is abundance in all He is and does.  He rains down upon this earth.  He sends His Love to us in His Son.  He grants mercy upon these souls and bodies from on high.  He whispers grace through His wind, through His Holy Spirit.

He crowns all He is and does, encompassing on every side, as a crown surrounds a head; as when something is completed, it is crowned.  The fruitfulness of His world is in His hands, in His power. 

How grateful I am, LORD.  May You adorn Your world with the riches of harvest, both in fruit of the tree and the fruit of salvation.  I shout my praises and honor to You, oh God.  I am so very heartbroken in the broken and breaking shape of this world, of this nation.  I know this is Your world and You know each and every one of Your creations.  I may feel saddened by so much right now, yet I truly can rejoice in the love, the tender care, the peace, the hope I find in You.  I look up to where my bounty and blessings come from.  Hallelujah!

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?

My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Let all these common gifts of the divine bounty, which we yearly and daily partake of, increase our love to God as the best of beings, and engage us to glorify Him with our bodies, which He thus provides so well for.  Matthew Henry

Father, I am humbled by the beauty of Your Word, by the bounty of Your fields, by the benevolence of Your mercy, by the balance in all that surrounds.  Father, in this season of giving thanks, I am reminded that offering my thanks daily is my desire and hope.  I lift up my hands in praise to You, the Giver of my soul.  You are my All, LORD.  I love You and sing with joy as I ponder the sun rising, beginning each day anew, or watch the sun set, leaving the brilliance of pinks and oranges across the sky.  You are Magnificent, Father.  I see You all around me.  Praising You and praying in the Name of the Bright Morning Star.  Amen. 

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Photo:  kangbch  —  https://pixabay.com/en/barley-field-sunrise-morning-solar-1684052/

Photo:  Hans — https://pixabay.com/en/wheat-spike-wheat-field-cereals-8762/

Threshing Floor

 

Oxen thresh grain with hooves and men separate kernels from straw.
Oxen thresh grain with hooves and men separate kernels from straw.

גֹּרֶן

goren

from an unused root meaning to smooth; a threshing-floor (as made even); by analogy, any open area:—a barn-, corn-, threshing- floor, a threshing-, void- place before the gates of a city

Freshly harvested grain was thrown into a large pile in the very center of the floor.  It was then hand raked onto the area of the floor where the oxen would walk around and around, breaking the husks away from the actual grain. This area was called the threshing floor.  It was flat and hardened by the passing of oxen over the sheaves, sometimes pulling a sled designed to separate the grain from the husks, the tares (weeds, false grain) from the wheat.  Afterwards, the stalks and grain were thrown up into the air (winnowing) so that the wind would blow the unwanted chaff away, leaving the kernels.

The threshing floors were also important places and were often used as landmarks.  Men and royalty often sat in the gates of a city, often on or near a threshing floor.

And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.  1 King 22:10

The words, threshing floor, is one word in the King James version of the Bible.  In looking up the Hebrew, we find the same word, goren, is for both threshing and for floor.  Thus, translating the Hebrew into English gives us threshingfloor as one word.  Other versions of the Bible separate the two words but translate them individually from the one word, goren.

Joseph, with his kinsmen and Egyptian followers, halted for seven days at the threshing floor of Atad to lament the death of Jacob.

When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he made a mourning for his father seven days.  Genesis 50:10

Travelers might welcome a threshing floor to stop for the night as the hard, level spot would be preferable to surrounding stony fields for tents.

David bought a threshing floor to build an altar to the LORD.

1 Then satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. … 7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He struck Israel. …  18 Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan (Araunah) the Jebusite.  …  20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat.  He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price.  I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 25 So David paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. … 28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there.   1 Chronicles 21:1, 7, 18, 20, 24-26, 28

Have we felt that something is worth more to us when it is bought and paid for by our earnings?  Do we take things for granted when they are given to us for nothing?  Is more value placed upon that which we buy, whether by money, labor, or things traded?

This same piece of property was to be where God’s Temple was to be built by Solomon.

1 Then David said, “Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” …  7 David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars.  You shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed so much blood before Me on the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies.  For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for My name.  He shall be My son, and I will be his Father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.’  11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as He has spoken concerning you.   1 Chronicles 22:1, 7-11

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.  2 Chronicles 3:1

Mount Moriah is where Abraham sacrificed his son, Isaac, to God.

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”  Genesis 22:2

Threshing floors were places of judgment:

Rejoice not, O Israel!  Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.  You have loved a prostitute’s wages on all threshing floors.  Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them.  Hosea 9:1-2

But they do not know
    the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand His plan,
    that He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor Micah 4:12

Threshing floors were places of blessings as well.  Sheave offerings were laid there to the Lord.

And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you.  And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed.  Joel 2:24-26

Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.  But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.”  And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”  Ruth 3:3-5  So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife.  And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.  Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may His name be renowned in Israel!  Ruth 4:13-14

 

Jesus bought me by His blood.  I am forgiven and paid for by the High Priest with His life.  I am to be winnowed, ridding me of the chaff.


His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” 
Matthew 3:12

Have I felt that something is worth more to me when it is bought and paid for by the sacrifice of my LORD?  Is more value placed upon that which has been purchased for me by the sacrifices of Jesus?  Is the gift of forgiveness of the debt I cannot pay and for which I owe such that I am so humbled?

 

LORD Jesus, I thank You for the love You have for me, for redeeming me.  You have blessed me beyond anything I could imagine.  I know that a day will come for my judgment.  I also know of Your forgiveness of this child.  I want to continue to be winnowed for I desire to become more pure for You with each day.  I want the chaff to be blown away, then burned.  I want only the kernels to be left so that I may make You a loaf of bread.  I know You are the Bread of Life, yet I want to give You this gift from my heart.  How can I really thank You, Jesus?  You have done so very much for me.  I am humbled with gratitude.  Thresh me on Your threshing floor, my LORD.  Separate the weeds and husk from the very grain of me.  Winnow me to purity, to wholeness, LORD, for I want to be wholly Yours.  In Your beautiful Name, I pray.  Amen.   

 

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Chaff

God looked upon the Israelites and called them to be His special people, His own.  Over and over again, He told them, I am the Lord thy God.  The first three commandments God gave to Moses for His children, in Exodus 20, are:

“I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  

“You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments.”  Exodus 20:2-5

Even with these commandments carved in stone, the Israelites had idols and worshiped them, not just once, but many times.  Their reasons for doing this spoke of their disobedience to God.  God could not turn away from their sin.  He would judge their iniquities and bring punishment.  If the current generation died, having never received punishment for their sins, the children or grandchildren, even beyond, would be the ones punished for the iniquities of their ancestors.

winnowing

 Therefore they shall be like the morning mist
or like the dew that goes early away,
like the chaff that swirls from the threshing floor
or like smoke from a window.  Hosea 13:3

מֹץ

mots

blown away by the wind

Chaff is the part of grain that is beaten out (winnowed) before taking up the wheat, rye, barley, etc., to make into flour.  Chaff does not become part of anything we eat.  It is threshed up and into the air, taken away from the wheat by the wind and then burned.

Although the children of God were disobedient at times, in the natural world, they might have thought that the morning clouds would bring rain to their parched lands, but the rain did not always come.  When the early dew settled upon the grass, it often would be evaporated by the hot sun, leaving no moisture for the earth.  Finally, this passage says they are as the smoke, presumably offensive, quickly dissipated into the air.  God saw the children as the chaff when they disobeyed, light and not worth keeping.  He would have to winnow them as wheat, being driven away from the threshing floor.

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“I baptize you with water for repentance, but He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”   Matthew 3:11-12

ἄχυρον

achyron

a stalk of grain from which the kernels have been beaten out

straw broken up by a threshing machine, chaff

Jesus tells us that one day, He will come to the threshing floor to separate the wheat from the chaff.  There will be a purging.  The last judgment will consist of winnowing—distinguishing doctrines and works, saints and sinners.  There will be some, maybe many, among us who look like wheat yet are chaff.  There may be those in the church who believe they are “good enough” and that this winnowing does not apply to them.  It is not our works or how good we are that, alone, are counted, but do our hearts belong to Jesus?  The heart must be completely His.  The soul must seek God Who calls.  The body, mind, and soul must draw near to God for He will draw near to us.  Jesus teaches us that He will gather His wheat after winnowing all of us on the threshing floor.  The true believers are valuable and useful, ones made of substance, whereas those who would be considered the chaff are useless, worthless to His Kingdom, light and able to be carried about in the wind to doctrines and to people who are not of the One and Only True God.

so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 
Ephesians 4:14

Chaff

The chaff will be burnt up.

At the time of winnowing/judgment, the wheat will be brought into the barn where the true believers will be safe, together, completely separated from all that is not of God, and will be purified.

wheat

We live together in this world, the wheat and the chaff, and must discern the difference.  Which am I? is a question needed to be asked.

Father God, I pray that as I walk the remainder of my days here on this earth, I will be as wheat to You and not as chaff.  May I not be easily blown away as I once was.  I am so grateful to You, LORD, for forgiving me of my sins and my disobedience.  I so desire to be worthy of You.  May I be of use to You in this world now and always forever after.  Use me as I am, growing me as I learn from You.  May my presence in this world be of value to Your Kingdom now.  I so love You and want to walk worthy of You in my speech, my behavior, my actions, through who I am and in the ways others see me.  I want to grow more and more into the image of Christ, Your Son.  Guide me and teach me in ways You want me to go, LORD.  I pray in the powerful Name of Jesus.  Amen.

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