“Threshing By Faith (Gideon & Matthew)”
This is a subject study on ‘Spiritual discernment’, with a primer from Matthew 13 as it is applied to Judges 6:11. In this study we are going to consider the Apostle and Disciple Matthew (Levi Alpheuson ) his former life as a publican, his conversion by Jesus Word, and his example which he left us as a faithful mighty man of valor not afraid to thresh his wheat.
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Compiled by JS LOWTHER
Threshing by Faith
Prayer for the month:
Our Father let us receive thy words, and hide thy commandments within us;
So that we may incline our ear unto wisdom, and apply our heart to understanding;
Yea, teach us to cry after knowledge, and lift up our voice for understanding;
to seek her as silver, and to search for her as for hid treasures;
that we may understand the fear of YHWH, and find the knowledge of God.
Threshing by Faith
Mat_13:3 And He spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
Mat 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Mat 13:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
Mat 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Mat 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
Mat 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Mat 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Mat 13:12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Mat 13:13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
Mat 13:14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
Mat 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Mat 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
Mat 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
Mat 13:18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
Mat 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
Mat 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Mat 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Mat 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
Mat 13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Jdg_6:11 And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
Jdg 6:12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
Jdg 6:13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
Jdg 6:14 And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?
Jdg 6:15 And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.
Jdg 6:16 And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
And let us here end in reading of God’s Holy Word writen for us to hear.
In Luk_8:8-9 we read another witness of these things stated just a little differently, and that is
“And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
It is after
Mat_13:10 …the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Both texts in Luke and Matthew show signs that these are the same instances, yet in the ears of Luke’s witnesses they hear Jesus crying out, as he says He “Cried” out to the people.
While Levi son of Alphaeus (or Matthew as we commonly know him by) simply hears, as he states in Mat 13:9 as just the ending part of the parable.” Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Luke’s testimony is not less true, it just that different men hear the same things different ways, and we can be assured that to the witnesses of Luke’s record ‘Jesus Cried’ these words, yet Matthew who heard them by this point in his life heard them as part of the statements of Jesus.
How can you hear if you can not hear?
That is how can you have ears that are designed superficially to hear but they do not? or how can you have ears that do indeed hear sounds, and words, but not the meaning they should convey?
The answer in this context is plain, as it is recorded in all accounts by the disciples:
“Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.”
Matthew is an interesting conversion story, he is one of the 12 unlike Luke. Matthew’s own record includes that which was relayed to him by others before this chapter 9.
We know he was a tax collector, a publican his Job working for the joint Roman Judean government was to ‘Sit and give the receipt of custom’ , according to Matthew 9:9.
John Gills commentary on the history of Matthews occupation is interesting as this is what he says:
“The publicans had houses, or booths built for them, at the foot of bridges, at the mouth of rivers, and by the sea shore, where they took toll of passengers that went to and fro: hence we read (k) of bridges being made to take toll at, and of publicans being at the water side (l), and of קישרי מוכס (m), “the tickets”, or “seals of the publicans”; which, when a man had paid toll on one side of a river, were given him by the publican, to show to him that sat on the other side, that it might appear he had paid: in which were written two great letters, bigger than those in common use (n). Thus Matthew was sitting in a toll booth, near the seashore, to receive the toll of passengers that came, or went in ships or boats.”
So turn to Matthew 9:1 and picture this:
Mat_9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
Mat 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Mat 9:3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
Mat 9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
Mat 9:5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
Mat 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
Mat 9:7 And he arose, and departed to his house.
Mat 9:8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
Mat 9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
Mat 9:10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
And so again, We are 9 chapters into the book of Matthew before we learn of Mathew’s conversion, and what we know is this, that the ears of Matthew were opened in this message
“Why do you think evil in your hearts?
For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”
And here in his customs booth by the sea side he identified with that paralytic man sick of the palsy—
“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”
And in the very next command Jesus says to the tax man, the publican, dead in his sin and trespass ” Follow me”
And like a paralyzed man Matthew too arose, and followed Jesus Christ.
Isn’t the parable of the Sower so much more lively to you now?
To know what happened to Levi / Matthew that filthy publican that tax collecting sinner?
And in connection to the parable from last sabbath, we are assured of this that while Matthew originally did not ‘Thresh his wheat at the winepress’ , yet, after his quickening and hearing by faith came into his healed ears he surly bore fruit unto eternal life and he in his risen up strength, in the newness of life, planted a new meat offering to be offered to the Lord having been forgiven, and like Gideon became and was a mighty man of valor.
Foxes book tells us of Matthew
“…occupation was that of a toll-gatherer, (he) was born at Nazareth. He wrote his gospel in Hebrew, which was afterwards translated into Greek by James the Less ( the brother of Jesus). The scene of his labors was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd (a type of spear carried by sergeants or ensign bearer of Rome) ( this was done) in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60.”
I find it strikingly interesting that a tax collector so connected with the Roman government did not write his testimony in Greek the common language of the day, nor in Latin, but in his national tough. I can only presume that he was ashamed of his prior occupation, persecuting his people unlawfully by illegal taxations and customs contrary to the Law of God, which has no place for such a fine upon its people, especially as Gill showed us, simple passage across the water back to ones own home town, or any where with in a citizens home land; but that he also abandoned the language of ‘koine Greek, the language of his prior life which he used in his unlawful occupation.
Such men were the disciples of our LORD, these learners of Jesus once they had learned the power of the resurrected life by the mere call of Christ’s word, they often gave up all and followed him with out reservation into poverty, unto wheresoever the WORD needed to be sown like wheat, and even unto death.
What most people do not realize in our day and age, and can not identify with in the lives of the Apostles is because we have no principles seemingly governing the conduct. So we have lost the knowledge commonplace old christians, that is the odious position of a ‘publican’, such as Matthew viewed him self in his past life.
The people who in name call them selves ‘Christian’ should consider that the Publican or the τελωναι, the tax collector in Jesus’ lessons is measures as among the lowest of society, named right there beside the harlots.
Consider this lesson Matthew relays to us after his conversion, but in his own words:
Mat_5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Mat 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Another consideration of how Christian of the church were to consider publicans, those who would help the Midianites impoverish Israel is the standards laid out for excommunication in Mat 18:
Mat 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Mat 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Mat_18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Matthew’s words again, that of an ‘ ol’ repented publican’ .
Hear is the point I want to make:
“Follow Me” to ears open, means “Follow me” … no turning back.
“Follow me” coming to your ears from the lips Jesus means, “Go in this thy might, …. have not I sent thee? Surely I am with thee.”
Though one may have threshed the wheat of affliction for the enemies of Israel in the Past, the WORD of the LORD causes a decisive change that arises and follows him.
This why I can tie the work of the Holy Spirit to all who hear the testimony of God, namely: Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and say if you can respond to that wisdom in demonstration, then you have received the Spirit and power and the wisdom that comes from God.
1Co 2:5 Knowing that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Paul told us on this wise
1Co_2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1Co 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
How did Gideon Know to Thresh his wheat at the wine press?
How did Matthew Know to give us the life of a publican, a helper of the ungodly and oppressors and rather follow Jesus?
Because these men regardless of where they started, heard a Word others could not hear, and in a time when hearing the Word of truth was a matter of salvation, they arose. Be it national or personal salvation, either example we see men arise in a newness of life and follow the Word of God… Jesus Christ.
Some application of what Paul said : “your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men”, of demonstrations of faith we read of in the life of Gideon as well as we will read in Heb 11 with a proper emphasis:
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Heb 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
Heb 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Heb 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
Heb 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Heb 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
Heb 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Heb 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
Heb 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
Heb 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
Heb 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Heb 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
Heb 11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
Heb 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
Heb 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
Heb 11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
Heb 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
Heb 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Heb 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
Heb 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
Heb 11:28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
Heb 11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
Heb 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
Heb 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
Heb 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Heb 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Heb 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Heb 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
Heb 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
Heb 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
Heb 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
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