O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared to you.
There is no little tenderness in this Divine address or invocation; it reminds us that God's love may be set upon us when there seems least reason to think so if we judge of his feeling by our outward circumstances. We think naturally of -
I. TRIBULATION. The instrument by which corn was threshed (tribula) has given us the word with which we are so familiar. To some it speaks of long-continued sickness, or weakness, or pain; to others of depressing disappointment; to others of bereavement and consequent desolation; to others of loss and the inevitable struggle with poverty; to others of human frailty or even treachery and of the wounded spirit which suffers from that piercing stroke. The heart knows its own bitterness, and every human soul has its own peculiar story to tell, its own especial troubles to endure. But this human suffering is only appropriately called tribulation when it is recognized that the evil which has come is sent (or allowed) of God as Divine chastening, when it is understood that the Divine Father takes a parental interest in the well-being of his children, that he is seeking their highest good, and that he is passing his threshing-instrument over "his floor" in the exercise of a benign and holy discipline.
II. SEPARATION. When the "tribula" passed over the reaped corn it separated the valuable grain from the worthless chaff; one was then easily distinguishable from the other. Sorrow, persecution, trial, tribulation, is a "discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Before it comes, the genuine and the pretentious may be mingled indistinguishably; after it has come, it is apparent who are the loyal and true disciples, and who are they that have nothing but "the name to live." We cannot be sure of "the spirit of our mind" or the real character of others until we, or they, have been upon the threshing-floor, and the Divine instrument of threshing has done its decisive and discriminating work. It comes, like Christ himself, "for judgment;" and then many who were supposed not to see are found to have a true vision of God and of his truth, while many who have imagined that they saw have been found to be blind indeed (see John 9:39).
III. SYMPATHY. Israel in Egypt may have thought itself unpitied and even forgotten of God; but it would have been wrong in so thinking (Exodus 3:7). The Jews in Babylon may have imagined themselves disregarded of Jehovah; but they were mistaken if they so thought. "0 my threshing," etc., exclaims the sympathetic voice of the Lord. When we are tempted to bewail our unpitied and forgotten condition, we must check ourselves as the psalmist had to do (Psalm 73.), or we shall be unjust and even ungrateful; "for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth." The mark of tribulation is the sign of parental love and care.
IV. PREPARATION. The process of threshing prepared the corn for the granary, and so for the table, and thus for the fulfillment of its true function. When God stretches us on his floor and makes us undergo the process of tribulation, it is that we may be refined and purified; that we may be made "meet for his use" both on earth and in heaven; that we may be prepared for such higher work and such nobler spheres as we should have remained unfitted for, had he not subjected us to the treatment which is "not joyous but grievous" at the time. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.