“Spread the corner of your garment over me,
since you are a kinsman-redeemer.”
I call them the Threshing Floor Seasons of life. Those times when God, in His love and faithfulness, takes us through a process of purifying our hearts. He necessarily goes through the grain of our heart, gets to the root and separates the righteous wheat from the dead chaff. I have found it to be a more effective and efficient process as I surrender my heart willingly to Him and say, “Father, please separate the wheat from the chaff in my heart so only the wheat remains.” The wheat represents the good, fruitful part of our hearts that is pleasing and useful to Him. The chaff is the dead, fruitless part of our heart that does not honor Him and cannot be used by Him. He wants to purify our hearts by ridding us of the chaff. Afterwards, our hearts are refreshed, our faith is stronger, and God is glorified. The healthy wheat has remained, and the lifeless chaff has been burned away.
Often His instrument used during this process comes in the form of a person. Someone in our lives who God uses as His tool of sanctification. Sometimes these tools are trusted, proven relationships where we feel safe to expose our hearts and have our uglies revealed.
Other times, the tool, as a winnowing fork, is someone with whom we would not choose to expose our hearts, someone who tends to rub us the wrong way…the unlikely servants known as sandpaper people. Difficult relationships can be a source of great pain, but they can also be an invaluable tool for God’s purifying work and healing for me.
I have learned to truly thank the Lord for sandpaper people as they can, if I yield my heart to the Lord, be tools used to burn away the choking chaff so that only fruitful wheat remains. In the light of God's Word, these threshing floor seasons are invaluable.
Once as I was going through a threshing floor season and the tool was an unknowing servant (one of my sandpaper people), the Lord impressed upon my heart to do a little Bible study about the threshing floor by reading through the book of Ruth. This book of the Bible illustrates the law of the kinsman-redeemer. A kinsman-redeemer was a near relative who was able and willing to pay the price of redemption, freeing the relative by taking care of the debt/ransom price for them. By leaving His throne and coming to dwell with us in flesh through the incarnation, Jesus became our Kinsman-Redeemer. Our Perfect Nearest-of-Kin made reconciliation with God for us, while we were yet sinners.
As I read through the third chapter of Ruth, I was tenderly overwhelmed by His Word. Ruth 3:5 tells us that she went to the threshing floor in obedience. I was breathless as I read on and was reminded that there on the threshing floor she encountered her kinsman-redeemer, whom she asked to gently cover her with his garment of protection and care. How this ministered to my heart. Our Kinsman-Redeemer is faithful to meet us on the threshing floor of our hearts. He loves us and desires a pure heart in us. He tenderly meets us in that place, and we are secure under His covering of love.
"...there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I."
Going to the threshing floor of our hearts is a bittersweet process. But the sweet redemption is invaluable. Our Kinsman-Redeemer tenderly meets us there in faithfulness and gently covers us with His garment of protection, care and righteousness. The chaff is burned and blows away. The beautiful wheat remains and brings Him glory.
"This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go."
“ …for the Lord searches the heart and understands
every motive behind the thoughts.
If you seek Him, He will be found by you…”
1 Chronicles 28:9 (NIV)