Threshing Floors Of God
By Pauline Gustafson
"He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will
thoroughly purge His threshing floor, and gather
His wheat into the barn, and He will burn up the
chaff with unquenchable fire." Matt 3:11-12.
The threshing floors in Scripture yield a rich insight into
the spiritual lives of the Lord's people. Profound issues
between God and men, major matters of faith and obedience
are settled upon the threshing floor.
The Lord's deeply personal dealings forever change and greatly
enrich the believer in Christ. Meeting God upon the threshing
floor is vital to Christian growth and spiritual maturity.
Threshing involves testing and trial. The word "tribulation"
means to "thresh." Seasons of threshing may involve
humiliation and exposure, but it is the Lord's method of delivering
His people from a carnal, casual spiritual life to deep commitment,
fruitfulness, and power. The process enlarges hearts, increases
capacity for God, enhances spiritual vision, and deepens sensitivity
to God and to others. To embrace and submit to the Thresher
brings life; to resist Him causes hardness of heart.
Issues between the believer and his Lord must be recognized,
identified, brought to climax and fully resolved. Personality
defects, character flaws, unbelief and fear, hidden weaknesses,
roots of bitterness; all these are issues which inhibit our
trust in Christ.
These problem areas are common to our human condition. They
are the residue of sin; our own inbred Adamic nature with
its propensity toward evil, plus our actual guilt, as well
as the sins of others against us. This combination is deadly;
like chaff, it suffocates and smothers the germ of spiritual
life. Therefore, the Lord faithfully brings us back to the
threshing floor until the obstacles to growth are removed.
The altar means fire; burning and purification for the destruction
of every affinity that God has not established, and each relationship
that is not an attachment in God.
In Scripture, gold, silver, and precious stones are contrasted
to wood, hay, and straw. The obvious distinction is that the
latter are flammable; they cannot stand the fire, but are
perishable and represent all that is non vital and inconsistent
in our lives. The gold, silver, and precious stones are able
to withstand the fire and actually increase in purity and
value. The wood, hay and straw are light, virtually weightless
and are consumed in the fire.
The Apostle Peter wrote that the genuineness of our faith,
which is more precious than gold, must be tested by fire.
He also wrote that we should not think it strange concerning
the fiery trial, which is to try us.
The threshing floor of Atad is the first mentioned in Scripture.
It was the scene of mourning for the aged patriarch, Jacob,
before his body was buried in the family burial plot at Machpelah.
He was already elderly when he left Canaan and moved to Egypt
to be with his beloved son, Joseph. There, in the sweetness
of reunion, he lived out his remaining days. Upon his deathbed,
he made his sons promise they would take his body home to
Canaan and bury him at Machpelah. It was Joseph who led the
family to the threshing floor of Atad where they properly
mourned Jacob's death and carefully committed him to the grave.
As a seed planted, it was a promise that the people of God
would one day return to the homeland. Out of death, life would
The issue upon the threshing floor of Atad was a critical
issue. It would be a most significant factor in the history
of Jacob's sons. They returned to Egypt, but it was a temporary
move. Canaan was in their hearts and Machpelah was their sacred
site, the seed plot of their Covenant relationship with Jehovah.
Only in the Promised Land could the terms of the Covenant
be fully honored.
Upon his deathbed, Joseph said to his brothers, "I am
dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of
this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac,
and to Jacob, and you are to carry up my bones from here."
They did not know they would be threshed by four hundred years
In Egypt the family of seventy persons grew to become a great
nation. At God's appointed time, Moses the deliverer came
to lead them out. Taking the bones of Joseph, they crossed
the Red Sea and traveled through the wilderness to the borders
of Canaan. Men may not have remembered the issue represented
by Jacob's dead body, but God remembered. His promises could
not fail. His people would not be swallowed up!
The world cannot absorb the children of God. Faith is a seed
planted in the homeland. In God's time, the fruit is seen.
The transitory gives place to the eternal, and the alien returns
The issue of God's call to ministry begins with a basic command.
To Gideon, it was simply, "Go". Obedience to the
call brings further direction and the way unfolds, step by
step. Alone in the winepress, the call came to Gideon. The
marauding bands of Midian had been at war with Israel for
seven years. They were terrorists whose battle strategies
were without honor, bravery, or skill; they stole Israel's
crops and there was no leader capable of defeating them.
But God had chosen a man for the hour. In the night, hiding
and fearful, Gideon heard incredible, life changing words,
"The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!...
this might of yours and you shall save Israel from the
hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you? ... Surely
I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one
man!" Judges 6:12-16.
Gideon protested briefly, but his protest was quickly silenced.
Faith began to rise in his heart, and Gideon was catapulted
into a spiritual realm he did not know existed.
In a final test of faith, he met God on the threshing floor.
Faith is not faith until it is tested; it is merely conjecture.
Gideon must know. He asked for a sign: placing a fleece of
wool upon the threshing floor, he requested that the dew gather
on the fleece only, leaving it dry all around. "And it
was so." He then asked God to reverse the sign: let it
be dry only on the fleece, and wet all around. "And God
did so that night." Upon the threshing floor the issue
was settled; faith became substance. There was double confirmation.
A new generation of sovereignly chosen servants are coming
forth at this time. They who are called know it. The Spirit
of God who "clothed Himself with Gideon" will anoint
the obedient. If they side step the issue, their segment of
Kingdom ministry may never be accomplished and their potential
in the Spirit never actualized.
The issue is profound, as is every issue between God and
man. Issues settled and resolved result in great fruit and
blessing to the people of God in all ages. The Thresher walks
among us; let us yield to Him.
* Edited from the book, "The Threshing Floors of God"
by Pauline Gustafson.