In this message, we would like to examine the various farming implements mentioned throughout the Bible and see how they apply to our walk with the Lord.
1. The Sickle
Deuteronomy 16:9 says - "Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn."
Deuteronomy 23:25 says - "When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbor, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand: but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor's standing corn."
In these Scriptures, we see the "sickle" depicting two separate ideas. The first is that it denoted a time table; whereas, the second reflected a lesson in kindness and generosity.
The Feast of Pentecost always took place on the seventh week after Passover. One way of indicating the beginning of the countdown of seven weeks was to note the time when the husbandmen put the "sickle" to the corn. Seven weeks later, the Feast of Pentecost was observed.
According to Jewish Law, a traveler, walking through a cornfield or a vineyard, was allowed to pluck and eat the corn or grapes - whether out of necessity or sheer delight. He was not allowed to "move a sickle" unto his neighbor's crop or carry away in large quantities what he gathered. This Law kept the heart of the owner free from all greed and covetousness.
Is it possible that God is speaking to you this day about the "sickle" in your life? Is He about to place the "sickle" to your spiritual fruit? Does this designate a certain timing in your experience with Him? Are you at a crucial turning point or at a crossroads? Have you sown much and now is the time for reaping your harvest? Is that Good News or Bad?
What about your level of generosity toward others? If you lived in the Bible days, how would you react to such a Law as mentioned in Deuteronomy 23? Would it bother you to have brethren going through your fields - partaking of your crops? Do you consider yourself a generous person or a stingy one? Are you more inclined to give or to see how much you can get for yourself - to bless people or to take advantage of them and their services - always looking out for #1 - you?
2. The Pruninghook
Isaiah 18:5 says - "For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, He shall both cut off the sprigs with pruninghooks, and take away and cut down the branches."
This Scripture simply speaks of a people making plans that are advancing to maturity. There are two ways that we can look at it - from the perspective of the People of God or from that of the enemy.
It can represent the plans established by God's people that are contrary to His will and way. Words like "harvest," "the bud is perfect," and "the sour grape is ripening" present an image of maturity. Yet, we read that all these plans come to an abrupt halt with the final words - "He shall both cut off the sprigs with pruninghooks, and take away and cut down the branches."
Here we have the picture of the "bud" - the blossom, sprout, shoot, or branch - reaching perfection or maturity - if you will. The "flower" is being replaced with a ripening grape. But this healthy picture of growth is abruptly "cut off," taken away, or "cut down" by the Master Husbandman. Using "pruning hooks," He cuts off the small limbs or branches that carry the grapes and stops the growth process.
As a Christian, have you ever pursued plans of your own making? Have you ever seen these same plans almost reach their goal when all of a sudden everything crumbled under your feet?
Most likely, everything fell apart because they were your plans and not God's. What probably happened was that the Husbandman entered into your vineyard and "cut off the sprigs" of your own making before a harvest of flesh - a Spiritual "Ishmael" - resulted.
This picture can be seen in another way. The enemy also makes plans for our lives. He is constantly setting up evil assignments against us and our families. At times, we may almost feel as though he is winning and having his way in matters.
But, take heart, O Saint of God! For the Master Gardener - Father God - is watching and waiting for the opportune moment when He will apply the "pruning hooks" to the enemy's tricks, schemes, and plans set against you.
Oh, you may say - you can even see the "bud" becoming "perfect" and the "flower" being replaced by the "sour grape" in the enemy's plans. Even so - Have No Fear - for with one snip, God - Who considers you as His garden - will "cut off" and "cut down" all the evil schemes and devices of the wicked one. This Master Deceiver and Destroyer will not have his way in your life and home. You can be sure of it!
3. The Teethed Threshing Instrument
Isaiah 41:15 says - "Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff."
God's Promise to His people was to "make," appoint, or constitute them as a "new sharp threshing instrument having teeth." Two particular instruments are pictured here. One is the threshing wain and the other is the corn drag.
The wain consisted of wheels with iron teeth or edges comparable to a saw. Led by a yoke of oxen, it was passed over a large bundle of sheaves, crushing the grain and separating the chaff.
The drag had a strong plank which was rough on the bottom due to hard stones or iron pointed teeth. Again, the illustration is given of the corn sheaves being scattered over the threshing floor where two oxen are driven back and forth - leading the drag over the grain.
Actually, the image presented here is one of great victory. In this verse, God promises to clothe His people with such power whereby all their difficulties and obstacles are crushed under their feet.
It is interesting to note at this time that the "teethed threshing instrument" applied to a sword - a double-edged sword. Hebrews 4:12 refers to the Word of God as being "sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow..."
Hence, through the implement of the Word of God as a "sharp threshing instrument having teeth," God's people are able to overcome all obstacles and to subdue the highest, strongest, and most stubborn of all enemies - beating them "small" and bringing them to nothing as "chaff."
Oh! Saint of God! Are you facing some of the highest, strongest, and most stubborn of all enemies in your life at this time? If so, be encouraged! God promises to make you a "new sharp threshing instrument having teeth." With the Word of God in your mouth, "thresh the mountain" - the difficulties and obstacles - that stand in your way. Like the farmer uses the wain and the drag to crush the grain and separate the "chaff," level those "hills" of hindrance and reduce them to nothingness.
4. Multiple Threshing Instruments
Isaiah 28:27 says - "For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod."
In this particular verse, we learn that there are certain tools designated for certain crops. The "fitches" - pulse, beans, dill, and cummin - "are not threshed with the threshing instrument" which had three rollers, fitted with irons, and turning upon three axles. Nor are they threshed with the "cart wheel" which consisted of serrated wheels which cut the grain very fine and separated the chaff. Instead, they were beaten with a "staff" or a stick.
The whole objective in the threshing process was to make the grain usable - while separating it from the chaff or the worthless part.
Isn't this just what our Heavenly Husbandman strives for in our lives? Through various and sundry trials and periods of intense testings, He crushes our outer core - flesh or Self - so that the substantial part - His Life - would come forth. Through different orchestrated circumstances which try our patience and bring us to the end of our resources, He separates us from all "chaff" - all that is unprofitable and worthless in our lives.
Which tool is God using on you at this hour?
Prayerfully, through this message, you have gleaned a greater understanding of your circumstances and are stirred - more than ever before - to be the fruitful Christian that God desires you to be.