This morning as I was reading in Isaiah, I came across 27:12ff: "Yet the time will come when the LORD will gather them together one by one like handpicked grain. He will bring them to His great threshing floor--from the Euphrates River in the east to the brook of Egypt in the west. In that day the great trumpet will sound. Many who were dying in exile in Assyria and Egypt will return to Jerusalem to worship the LORD on is holy mountain" (NLT). There are many instances in which Isaiah talks about Israel being brought to the threshing floor besides this one, but it struck me as I read to research exactly what the processes of threshing wheat entailed. So I powered up the handy-dandy internet and did a search.
What I found out was this: threshing is not an easy process, thus why we have machines to do it today. In ancient times, they would harvest the wheat when it was not quite ripe--the stalks would have still been a little green. This was done so that they would not loose great quantities of grain as they were harvesting. When the wheat is ripe, the grains will frequently fall out of their sheaves of their own accord. But not so with all of the grains. After harvesting the wheat, they would them bundle them and wait for them to ripen. Once ripe, they would take the wheat and beat the crud out of it with bricks, primitive tools, their own might, or whatever else was available to them. Then they would have the laborious task of separating the grains of wheat from the sheaves. This does not sound like fun to me!
So back to the original verse. God has said that He will harvest or gather the remnant of Israel to bring them back out of captivity. He will walk through the fields taking whoever is about ripe and bring them to the threshing floor. Then He will thresh them. He will remove the sheaves. He will literally beat out of them all that is against Him, all that is not good and wholesome. Everything that cannot be used for His glory. He will beat it out of them.
Do we allow God to do the same thing with us? Does he "handpick" us from among the fields? Does He take us to His threshing floor to rid us of whatever is not of Him? Do we allow Him to do this? Beating out the bad does not sounds like a particularly thrilling process, instead it sounds rather painful. It is painful for God to beat the sin out of our lives, but look at the end product. It is wholesome and good. Good for eating, good for kneading into bread, and a thousand other things. God can use the good grains of wheat that are left after we have been threshed! He can use them to His everlasting glory!
Father, I ask to be threshed. I know that the process will not be easy, in fact it will be painful. But LORD, I am willing because I know that you are a gentle and loving Father. You will not give me more than I can withstand. I can trust You as the Harvester, and I can trust You as the Thresher. You will be good to me, and You will lovingly beat out of me what fails to bring You glory. Father, I want to be used in Your Kingdom. So take from me my sin, cut it out of me that I might be righteous before You. All praises be to You, the LORD Almighty. May Your Kingdom come, and may Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Praise You, Father! Amen.