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The Wicked Are Like the Chaff

“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” Psalm 1:4

The wicked are like the chaff

The righteous are like a tree.

They are like a tree laden with brilliant foliage and producing an abundance of fruit.

For the righteous are planted by God near the Stream of living waters, which is Christ Jesus. They draw their life and strength from Christ through the bond of living faith, which unites them to Him. Their leaf never fades of dies. Their fruit never fails.  All that they do prospers, for the

Spirit of Christ inspires them, even compels them to use all their gifts and talents to the glory of God.

“The wicked are not so.’’

Scripture refuses to compare the wicked to a healthy tree that in some sense or another brings forth good fruits. When the figure of a tree is used in reference to the wicked, they are compared to a bad tree that only brings forth bad fruit. (Matthew 7:17, 18). We often hear the deeds and accomplishments of the wicked praised as if those fruits of their labors are certainly commendable, also in the sight of God. Although they are unbelievers who live solely for the things of this world, they receive their Oscars, their place in the hall of fame; and are praised for their athletic ability, their business acumen, and are admired for their riches and success. Even the church speaks with admiration of these men as pleasing to God. Far be it from the world to respect and esteem the servant of God who has devoted his whole life to the cause and kingdom of God. Far be it for them to speak highly of some lowly saint who is an example of Godliness and piety. How dangerously close we come to following the example of the world.

Often we ourselves tend to admire a certain individual for what he is, in spite of the fact that he wants absolutely nothing to do with religion, the church, or the cause of God’s kingdom. We may be attracted to that person as a friend, we may even associate with him with the tacit agreement that we will be silent about our convictions and he will avoid anything that might offend us. A compromise with the world often becomes a sore temptation for the members of God’s church. Sometimes a young man is attracted to a young lady of the world by her beauty, her dress, or her alluring personality. Sometimes the devil succeeds in luring a young lady to fall for the friendly advances of some nice fellow of the world. One step of compromise can create an involvement that brings years of misery.

The wicked are like the chaff.

We think of a field of grain rustling in the wind and rippling like waves of the lake. The farmer visits the field when the crop is ripe, mows down the grain, gathers it into bundles and carries it to the threshing floor, a hard, clay surface that can be used for winnowing out the wheat.  Various processes were used.  Sometimes the wheat was spread out on the threshing floor to be beaten out, or to be trodden by the feet of men or of oxen. The grain was gathered in; the straw and the chaff were left to be blown about and driven away by the wind. Another method was to take up a small bundle of grain and toss it into the air repeatedly, until the grain had fallen out and the chaff was scattered by the wind.

Scripture more often speaks of chaff. Wicked nations are sometimes compared to chaff that is driven away by a storm wind or burned by fire. See Job 21:18; Isaiah 17:13; Hosea 13:3.

John the Baptist speaks of Christ as the one who will gather the wheat into His garner and will burn the chaff with fire unquenchable (everlastingly).

This does not mean that the chaff serves no purpose in the plan and counsel of God. In a field of wheat, the chaff serves the kernels of wheat. Without the chaff, the wheat could never develop and grow to maturity. The seed is sown. A small sprout appears from the soil. Then the leaves and the stalk gradually develop into a full grown plant. Finally, within the husk the kernel of wheat develops and ripens. When that kernel is ready to be harvested, the farmer gets busy to separate the kernel of wheat from the chaff. The chaff has served its purpose and is now worse than useless.

This is a clear example of election and reprobation. Just as God has eternally appointed that the entire wheat plant should serve for the ripening of the wheat kernel, so also God has eternally determined that the reprobate wicked shall serve for the salvation of the saints.

Out of the same seed and in the same soil sprouts the entire plant, including the chaff and the wheat. Both are temporarily regarded as wheat. One may look at the ripening grain and say, “What a beautiful stand of wheat”. Both the chaff and the kernel receive the same rain and sunshine. Both grow up together, even though the concern of the farmer is for the wheat. The chaff grows up as chaff and the wheat as wheat.

During the history of this world the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent develop out of their common parents, Adam and Eve. God gives His good gifts to both the reprobate and the elect. They both breathe the same air; receive the same rain and sunshine, health and strength, food and clothing, and all that is necessary for them to fill their life span and to serve their purpose here on earth. These gifts, including all adversities, are blessings for God’s people and a curse for the wicked. Sometimes they are mistakenly referred to as blessings also for the wicked. At times, it would even seem as if the wicked receive more of these “blessings” than the righteous. In Psalm 73, Asaph struggles with that very problem. Why should the wicked who oppose the Most High and persecute God’s people receive more bounties than the righteous? He could not understand this, until he had wrestled with this problem in prayer before the face of God. Then his eyes were opened, and he saw that the blessings of God’s people are a curse for the wicked. God sets them, as it were, on a steep ski-slope, on which they descend in soul thrilling speed, yet which ends in a chasm where they are completely destroyed. The same gifts of God serve to develop the chaff into full grown chaff, even while they develop the wheat into sound healthy kernels, fit for the Lord’s garners. Psalm 92 teaches us that the wicked are like the grass that flourishes, but soon whithers and passes away. See the similar figure in Matthew 13:24-30.

The same thing becomes evident in the church, where also reprobation serves election. God gathers His people in the line of continued generations of believers. Both Cain and Abel, and also Seth, were of the same parents. Yet Cain was the reprobate, while Abel and Seth were elect and given grace to love and serve God. The seed of the serpent manifested itself in Cain’s generations; while the seed of the woman developed out of Seth, even until Christ was born. Isaac and Rebecca had twin sons, yet before they were born God informed them that the elder would serve the younger. The younger, Jacob, was chosen to be the wheat, while Esau was appointed to be the chaff. Already then God revealed that, “Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated.’’ In his generations, Esau continued to be an enemy of the church, always persecuting her and thus purifying her as by fire. Esau and Jacob met together for the last time in the persons of Herod and Jesus, for Herod was a descendant of Esau. That was to Esau’s final condemnation.

Election and reprobation became evident especially at the cross. There the chaff had ripened to a point where it was ready to shed off the wheat. The chief priests and rulers, along with carnal Israel, Pilate and Herod, revealed their hatred against God and their neighbor in openly rejecting the Christ. They showed that they cared not at all about God, not His Christ, nor His cause and people, but were filled with the carnal ambition of an antichristian world kingdom. In spite of all that Jesus had spoken – and no man ever spoke as He did – and in spite of all His mighty signs and wonders, they rejected Him as a blasphemer and a deceiver. Yet by that very act, God brought about the redemption of sins and the salvation of His church. Wicked, ungodly men carried out all that God’s Hand and counsel had determined before should be done. Acts 4:10, 11, 27, 28.

Even now reprobation still serves election. God is tearing from the faces of evil men the mask of “brotherly love”, human kindness, politeness, morality and decency. Man now does his “thing”. He belongs to the “now” generation that wants to enjoy their treasures and pleasures right now. The ungodly want to determine what is right or wrong, good or bad, and they refuse to have anyone dictate to them what they must do. The majority decides whether abortions are right, whether sexual relationships may be carried on outside of the marriage bond, whether marriage is a holy state or a mere convenience. The chaff reveals itself more and more as chaff, for there is no fear of God before their eyes. They maintain a form of godliness, but deny the God who is the power thereof. There is no love, no real spiritual bond that holds husband and wife together. Parents “love” their children only when those children serve their selfish purposes. Children love their parents only when those parents cater to their selfish whims. There is none righteous, no, not a single one. There is none that doeth good, no not one. They are all like empty chaff that is cast into the air and is swept away by the winds of God’s righteous judgments.

For God is not mocked. The winds of judgment already sweep over the earth, tossing up the straw and stubble and carrying them away. As man fills the measure of his iniquity, both as nations and as individuals, these winds reach hurricane proportions. The world knows it. They fear the catastrophes that befall them, but can do nothing about them. All the while God declares powerfully from the heavens, saying, “Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations.’’ Haggai 2:6, 7. And who shall stand when He appeareth?

The righteous are not so.

They are like a tree well planted by rivers of waters.

Their fruit is evident in that fact that they walk not in the counsel of the ungodly.                                  .

They do not stand in the way of sinners.

They do not sit in the seat of the scorners.

But their delight is in the law of the Lord. On that they meditate day and night.

Blessed are they.