My grandparents, parents and neighbours often recalled stories of threshing gangs. When harvest time came each fall, groups of farmers would move from farm to farm with their equipment to help bring in the harvest of another year.
From what I’ve heard (since I never was a part of such a group) threshing is a dusty, noisy process. The sheaves of grain are fed into the threshing machine which hungrily kicks into gear. The process, well designed and refined through many years, separates the grain from the straw. In Biblical times, this would take place manually as the stalks of grain were beaten to accomplish the same process. The stories of Gideon and Ruth depict in detail this labour intensive work.
In Habakkuk’s prayer (chapter 3), he recounts God’s activity in judgment.
“You split the earth with rivers;
the mountains saw you and writhed.
Torrents of water swept by;
the deep roared and lifted its waves on high.
Sun and moon stood still in the heavens at the glint of your flying arrows,
at the lightning of your flashing spear.
In wrath you strode through the earth
and in anger you threshed the nations.”
There it is…the threshing process carried out by God. Habakkuk, using Hebrew poetic language, affirms that noone will escape God’s wrath. The evil conduct of mankind, proceeding from rebellious hearts, has warranted this action. Even creation submits to the “heavy hand” of God.
Why is God meting out His judgment? Habakkuk continues…
“You came out to deliver your people,
to save your anointed one.
You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,
you stripped him from head to foot.
With his own spear you pierced his head when his warriors stormed out to scatter us, gloating as though about to devour the wretched who were in hiding. You trampled the sea with your horses, churning the great waters.”
God is on a rescue mission. His people need deliverance and He is about to provide it.
As we near the celebration of another CHRISTmas, let’s not what forget what God was doing. In the “fullness of time” GOD sent forth His Son… God sent His Son to rescue, to deliver His people. Even the baby’s name reflects the planned deliverance. “You shall call His name JESUS, for He shall SAVE HIS PEOPLE from their SINS….” The threshing process of refinement accomplishes God’s purposes. The wicked, who felt free to do “what they wanted, when they wanted with whom they wanted,” who gloated over their liberty to determine their own actions, now have been brought under Divine scrutiny.
May God remind us of this truth as we sing, “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day,” this year. “Then pealed the bells more strong and sweet, GOD IS NOT DEAD nor doth He sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail of peace on earth, goodwill to men!.”