Title: Judges 6. Gideon, part 4: The threshing floor: The joy and unity of prosperous labor is only with the Lord.
The message of the prophet was likely given in many places. Unlike the past cycles of apostasy during the time of the Judges, God sends a prophet this time to make it very clear to them that the reason they have been under such severe oppression is that they have not obeyed the voice of the Lord who delivered them from slavery in Egypt, safely led them through the wilderness, and delivered into their hands the whole of the Promised Land.
Young Gideon was impacted by the message through the prophet.
One of the young men who was properly impacted by the message of the prophet was Gideon living in a small village in the south-west of Manasseh, just along its border with Ephraim.
JDG 6:13 Then Gideon said to him [the Angel of the Lord], "O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian."
This at once shows that our hero has taken the message of the prophet to heart, but it also shows that our hero is not overly bright - an altar to Baal stands in his small village.
On top of the highest hill in Orphah is an altar to Baal that is in frequent use. Picture looking at him while he asks you, “Why then has all this happened to us?” when in the background, away in the distance, is a clear outline of a pagan altar upon which sacrifices are offered to Baal. It may be that Gideon was fired up by the words of the prophet, but didn’t know any of the passages in the Torah, ones that we’ve seen multiple times since starting Joshua, that clearly states the curses that would come upon them if they bowed themselves to idols. Since his father worshipped Baal as did so many around him, do we think that he was faithfully teaching the Torah to his son as it commands all Israel to do?
LEV 26:1 You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God.
LEV 26:14 'But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments,
LEV 26:15 if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant,
LEV 26:16 I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that shall waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you shall sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies shall eat it up.
LEV 26:17 'And I will set My face against you so that you shall be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when no one is pursuing you.
Once the message through the prophet is firmly planted in the hearts of all in Israel, the stage is set for the call of Gideon.
JDG 6:11 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites.
JDG 6:12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior."
Abiezer was a small family of Manasseh to whom Ophrah belonged. Joash was the head at this time and so was lord of Ophrah.
There would have been a well known oak adjacent to the home of Joash.
Next we are introduced to his son who is threshing wheat in a wine press. Normally, wheat threshing would be done on an elevated flat place called a threshing floor where the crop was crushed either by sticks or by animals in order to separate the grain from the stalks and the inedible protective cover over the grain. Then it would be winnowed, either by hand or with a winnowing fork by tossing it up into the air where the less dense chaff would be carried outside the floor by the breeze and the denser grains would fall upon the threshing floor.
Threshing floors represented life, nourishment, survival - prosperity. They gained a spiritual character.
In an agrarian economy, agriculture was the structure of life, time was ordered on seasons of plowing, planting, harvesting, and in this case, processing the harvest so that it is consumable.
The threshing floor represented prosperity in Israel and so they became spiritual places. What represents true prosperity in the church?
Therefore, threshing floors represented life and in Israel's case, God's blessing of an abundant land. Threshing floors were fundamental locations for nourishment and survival. So it is no wonder that they became something of a spiritual place since what was being threshed was a gift from God.
The threshing floor also had a component of unity through different families sharing the best floors and also assisting each other in the labor of threshing.
MAT 6:19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
MAT 6:20 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
MAT 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
MAT 6:22 "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.
In many cases there were only a few optimal places in a village for a threshing floor. It was therefore best for the entire village to share them. As the people of God, who were all alike blessed with land by God, this sharing should have been a natural result. Also, high flat places in an area might be used for several threshing floors owned by different families. In the spirit of all being blessed, though some may have more than others, in the right frame of mind they would help each other, sing spiritual songs together, socialize, bond, etc. If one family was finished threshing they would assist another who was still laboring, for this was back breaking labor, but a labor of taking into the store house God’s bounty.
LUK 5:1 Now it came about that while the multitude were pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret;
LUK 5:2 and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them, and were washing their nets.
LUK 5:3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the multitudes from the boat.
LUK 5:4 And when He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch."
LUK 5:5 And Simon answered and said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but at Your bidding I will let down the nets."
LUK 5:6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish; and their nets began to break;
LUK 5:7 and they signaled to their partners in the other boat, for them to come and help them. And they came, and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink.
LUK 5:8 But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"
LUK 5:9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken;
LUK 5:10 and so also James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men."
LUK 5:11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
A threshing floor became the spot upon which the Temple would be built in Jerusalem.
At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he offered sacrifice there.
In a village several threshing floors would be close together in a breezy place so that the workers could socialize and assist one another since the process was laborious. No matter what, the farmers remained on the floor as long as it took to gather and store the grain in order to protect it from thieves.
JOH 12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
JOH 12:25 "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.
JOH 12:26 "If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.