“Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his floor…” (Matthew 3:12)
The newer versions define this floor as a “threshing floor”. Flour is made at the floor. First, the wheat is thrashed; the grain heads wrangled off the plants by a sharp threshing instrument as well as by the farmer’s twisting hands. Then the winnower shovels the grain into the air in a very windy location. The chaff flies, the weighty grain falls. The process is repeated over and over until the wheat is clean. The wind separates the chaff; the fire incinerates it. If wind was scarce a huge fan would be swung to blow away the chaff. The wind there must have been intense because it distressed the oxen pulling the cart with the Holy Ark enough to make them tip the cart. It was there that Uzzah grabbed the Ark to steady it and was smitten for violating the priestly law. The floor is the place of judgment.
It was usually set up in a wide-open space where wind is strong. Gideon feared the floor because of its clear exposure to his enemies (Judges 6:11). That’s the uncomfortable part of the process. Sometimes our humbling is public. We have to make apologies and face the music. (Of course, you can’t lead the band until you face the music.) God allows things that “floor” us. Taking a threshing or a thrashing is murder to the flesh but life to the spirit. The Greek word for the threshing instrument was tribulo. We are perfected through trouble, trials, tribulation. “We glory in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character…” (Romans 5:3,4 NKJV) It hurts removing splinters. Weight resistance training creates sore muscles. Improvement always comes at a cost. It doesn’t make sense at the moment, the house is burglarized, your most promising stock takes a plunge, the transmission goes out on your car, etc. You are floored. Worse yet, you feel you’re being used to mop the floor. But note the outcome, not the immediate loss. David speaks of “the chaff which the wind drives away” (Psalm 1:4). You’re being separated from baggage you don’t need.
Prayers are prayed and commitments made at the threshing floor. The loss alters the direction of our focus. 70,000 innocent Israelites died because of David’s indiscretion in numbering the people. But he sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings at Ornan’s threshing floor where God answered faith by sending fire on the altar (1 Chronicles 21:26). The winnowing leads to repentance then sacrifice then a fresh manifestation of God’s presence. In fact, Christ only becomes Lord over those areas of our lives that have gone through the threshing process. That is evidenced in that Solomon’s Temple was built directly over the spot where Ornan winnowed wheat and the spot where David made his sacrifice to the Lord. Only where there is winnowing can there be true worshiping. We have to go to the floor if we want to get more. Grape volume increases when the vine is cut back. The hotter the water the cleaner the dishes. It takes a couple thousand degrees of heat to refine the gold. So, don’t shy away from the process. Take a deep breath and submit to the winnowing fork and fan. Grit your teeth and receive the hypodermic needle. All Christians spend time on the floor, we call it “floor time”, but the good news is that they also get elevated to the throne. The wheat He will “gather into his garner”.
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