Threshing Floors and Temples

(All Scripture quotes are from the New International Version.)


One summer I went through a prolonged inner struggle in my relationship with Jesus. Finally, late in September, I came to a place of surrender. At that time I sensed the Spirit telling me I was to consider Ruth. I remembered that Ruth lay at the feet of her kinsman-redeemer, Boaz, and I realized that I was to take that position at the feet of Jesus, my Kinsman-Redeemer. As I read the book of Ruth I asked the Lord to teach me more about her.

A day or so later I sensed that Jesus wanted me to return and consider just where it was that Ruth was lying. In Ruth 3:6-7 I read, "So she went down to the threshing floor...Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down." So, that's where I had been all summer--on the threshing floor! I know what happens on threshing floors--the grain gets separated from the chaff. In Luke 3:16b-17 I am told, "He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." I reflected on just how often I had sung to Him, "Refiner's fire, my heart's one desire is to be holy."

Over the next several weeks God took me on a journey of discovery.

First we went to II Samuel 24:18-19. "On that day Gad went to David and said to him, 'Go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. So David went up, as the Lord had commanded through Gad." (Italics mine.)

Later our walk led through Genesis 22:2. "Then God said (to Abraham), ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah.’" (Italics mine.)

Next He led me to II Chronicles 3:3. "Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David." (Italics, again, mine.)

I think Jesus stood back and smiled as He watched the light bulb over my head flash on.

Threshing had occurred at this temple site! In fact the ultimate threshing had occurred as Abraham was willing to have everything taken from him, leaving nothing but pure devotion to his Lord. And that was where God chose to build His temple. Selah [pause and calmly think of that].

Hundreds of years later when the exiled Israelites returned from captivity, Zerubbabel was one of the men who led them (Ezra 2:2, Nehemiah 7:7). Then, as Governor of Israel, he helped rebuild the altar and temple, the same temple Solomon had built but that had been destroyed. Zechariah 4:6 says,

This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord Almighty. "What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of 'God bless it! God bless it!’"

In our morning prayer group we loved to sing the song with these lyrics: "This mountain shall be removed, I'll build my temple in you. What I've promised shall be done. And it's not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord."

What was the Spirit telling me here? Wasn’t it that He wants to level the mountains in my life; that He wants me to be willing to lie on the threshing floor so Jesus can use His winnowing fork on me? Wasn’t He making it abundantly clear that right here inside me, where all this hard work is done, is where He builds His temple and moves in to inhabit it? When He does that, "The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil" (Joel 2:24).

This has been the desire of my heart--for more of Jesus and to become more like Him. Now I know that it is upon the threshing floor that the temple is built.