The Righteous and the Wicked: Fruit Trees and Chaff – Psalm 1

I’ve been thinking lately about the first Psalm—mainly about chaff. In this Psalm the Psalmist compares the righteous man to the wicked man.

Here is what is said about the righteous man:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season,

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.

(Psalm 1:1-3)

Here are my observations on the righteous man:

  • He does not listen to the teaching of the wicked or even spend much time with them.
  • He meditates on the word and delights in it all the time.
  • He is like a fruit tree. He is fruitful and prosperous.
  • Like a tree, his life is stable and is firmly planted.
  • The Lord knows him and will be with him for eternity.

Here is what the Psalmist says about the wicked, unsaved man:

The wicked are not so,

But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish.

(Psalm 1:4-6)

Here are my observations about the unrighteous man:

  • He is like chaff. He has no fruit, no stability, no real prosperity.
  • He has no hope of eternal life. In the final judgment he will be found unrighteous and will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity (Rev. 20:11-15).
A farmer tosses the wheat into the air so that the wheat chaff will be blown away.

More on the Chaff

How would you like to be compared to chaff? Well, the Psalmist compares the wicked to chaff in verse 4. Think of it. Chaff. Chaff has absolutely no value, no worth. Wheat chaff is the outer casing of the wheat kernel that has gotten old and is coming off. That outer shell is so flimsy that when you would throw the wheat into the air, the wind would blow the chaff away.

Think of that.  Think of being blown away. The non-Christian is in a state of constantly being blown away. He is blown wherever the wind happens to blow. He has no strength of will.  He lets the evil world blow him wherever the devil and the world want him to go. Just like the chaff, the unbeliever has no fruit, no value, and no real prosperity. Oh, he may have momentary desires and delights of the flesh, but nothing that will last and nothing that has any lasting (eternal) value. And he has no stability. He is not like a stable tree. He has no roots. He is just chaff that is blown from place to place with the wind—with the evil world.

The Chaff Compared to the Unformed Earth

As it happened, on the same day (yesterday) that I read Psalm 1, I also read Genesis 1. As I was thinking of the chaff, I also thought of how the earth was in the beginning.  The bible says, “And the earth was formless and void.” (I’m not sure how to interpret this. I tend to think that God first created an unformed earth—like a big lump of clay—out of nothing; then later He formed it as it is now). Anyway, I began to think of the chaff much like that formless earth.

And that got me to thinking. If God could make a beautiful, fruitful earth out of that formless mass, why couldn’t He make something out of the chaff. Well He can and He has. Every time a person is saved it is like a formless piece of chaff being miraculously created into a beautiful new creation of God—with hope and purpose. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

How to Engage in Spiritual Conversations

The sermon today at my church had to do with witnessing to our neighbors—or anyone we would have a chance to talk to. It was good for me, because, over the years I have become sort of lax in this area. I don’t know why. I was thinking that maybe it is because I just haven’t taken the time with people to get in a lot of deep, personal conversations. Or maybe I have become too Christianized, or too proud—if you know what I mean. Anyway, I what to give you a few questions (taken directly from the sermon notes) that every Christian can ask his friends in order to stimulate a spiritual conversation.

  • Do you believe people can change?
  • What brings you a sense of meaning of purpose?
  • Do you think our world is getting better or worse?
  • Is there a movie or book series that has meant a lot to you?
  • If you won the lottery, what would you do with your free time?
  • What is the biggest challenge facing humans?
  • Have you ever had a mentor who meant a lot to you?
  • What is the best advice you have ever received?

Two Questions for Anyone Who May Have Some Doubts About His or her Salvation

  • Have you come to a place in your spiritual life where you can say you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven?
  • Suppose that you were to die today and stand before God and he were to say to you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” what would you say?

These are good questions, aren’t they? To help you answer them I want to encourage you to look at a couple bible verses. For the first question look at 1 John 5:11-12. As for the second question, that may be a little harder. To help you answer that question you can look at Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, and Ephesians 2:8-9.