Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Under utterly hopeless circumstances (they) hopefully believed.”
Romans 4: 18
God of the Impossible
“O God of the impossible!
Since all things are to Thee
But soil in which Omnipotence
Can work almightily,
Each trial may to us become
The means that will display
How o’er what seems impossible
Our God hath perfect sway!
The very storms that beat upon
Our little bark so frail,
But manifest Thy power to quell
All forces that assail.
The things that are to us too hard,
The foes that are too strong,
Are just the very ones that may
Awake a triumph song.
O God of the impossible,
When we no hope can see,
Grant us the faith that still believes
All possible to Thee!”
“When God is going to do something wonderful, He begins with a difficulty. If it is going to be something very wonderful, He begins with an impossibility.”
Today’s Study Text:
“But the wicked people are not like that. They are like useless chaff.”
Psalm 1: 4
The Everyday Bible
Psalm 1 Part 15
Definition of Chaff: Husks of grain remaining after separation from the seed. Trivial or worthless matter.”
“Perhaps the only thing worse than being chaff is to know you have been chaff.”
Dale Ralph Davis
Have I ever felt that because of the way I was choosing to live day-to-day that my life was like worthless chaff?
What behavior in my life has caused me to feel this way?
What single purpose can renew my heart and life?
“I cannot afford to lose everything except the touch of God on my life.”
“When you feel that all is lost, sometimes the greatest gain is ready to be yours.”
Thomas á Kempis
It is a familiar Bible story recorded by Dr. Luke in the New Testament book which bears his name. Found in Luke 15:11-21, the story about the Prodigal son chronicles the life of a young man who demanded his inheritance. This younger son of a wealthy man left the comforts of home planning to live life to the fullest. As Luke tells us, the money became hot in the young man’s hands and soon he was broke. With his fair weather friends taking leave, the boy resorted to eating with the swine in a pen – an unthinkable place for a former rich young Jewish lad to be. As the Greek tells us, the “husks” referred to in Luke 15: 16 were carob pods but, we are told, “they could not satisfy his hunger.”
It is interesting to note that several thousand years earlier, the Psalmist already noted that there was a lot of worthless “stuff” in this world that lacked the ability to satisfy. In the case of Psalm 1: 4, we are given a picture of what the useless and purposeless life of the ungodly is like. The definition of the word “chaff,” which is used 14 times throughout Scripture, is often referred to as the wasted “husks” which are the pieces left after threshing and winnowing wheat or corn. As the Lord God said to the prophet Jeremiah, “What has chaff in common with wheat for nourishment? (Jeremiah 23: 28, K.J.V.). The answer is short and simple: absolutely nothing! In her insightful comments on Psalm 1: 4, Professor Carolyn Sharp observes that, “the wicked are like mere chaff…dust, without value, completely insignificant.” And then she continues by making this astute comment: “The extravagant fruit-fullness of the life of the faithful is met by the barrenness and lack of substance that characterizes the life of the wicked.”
I always find it beneficial to take a look at the thoughts shared by author Dale Ralph Davis from his book, The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life, a commentary on Psalms 1-12. As he points out, “If the tree (in Psalm 1: 3) represents stability and vitality, chaff depicts rootlessness and ruin.” But then Davis calls our attention to a vital insight found in Psalm 1: 3-4 – “Look carefully at the texts: note how four clauses explain and amplify the picture of the righteous as a tree but only one line, depicts the wicked as chaff. Very abrupt. Well, how much can you really say about chaff anyway?”
Although the noted Bible student Matthew Henry lived years before Pastor and Author Dale Ralph Davis, when reading what both these scholars had to say about “chaff” you might think they were sharing the same writing table for Matthew Henry also helps us examine the fact that the ungodly are descried in two ways. “In general, they are the reverse of the righteous both in character and condition…they are led by the counsel of the wicked, in the way of sinners, to the seat of the scornful. They have no delight in the law of God, nor ever think of it…whereas the righteous are like valuable, useful fruit trees, the wicked are like the chaff…the dust which the owner of the floor desires to have driven away, as not capable of being put to any use. Would you value them? Would you weigh them? They are like chaff, of no worth at all no matter how highly they may value themselves…they have no substance to them.”
Whether a poem penned by the Psalmist in the Old Testament or a parable told by Jesus in the New Testament, the same thread runs through the lives of both the Godly and the ungodly. The “husks” the world offers as satisfaction for our hunger proves to be nothing but refuse in our lives. Food that really isn’t even fit for pigs.
Pastor Susan Johnson, in her commentary on Psalm 1 leaves us with this summary regarding the fate of the righteous and the ungodly: “The contrast between the righteous as fruitful trees and the wicked as useless chaff becomes the primary image of (Psalm 1). The wicked are plainly short-lived; they do not abide…this wisdom Psalm allows us to see that the wicked have, in a sense judged themselves…in their waywardness, (the ungodly) will punish themselves. The way of the righteous, we are told, is under God’s protective watch; the wicked are hopelessly on their own…but the one who delights in God’s law endures.”
As the Psalmist reminds us again in Psalm 92:
“But good people will grow like palm trees.
They will be tall like the cedar trees of Lebanon
They will be like trees planted in the courtyards of the Lord,
They will grow strong in the courtyards of our God.
When they are old, they will still produce fruit.
They will be healthy and fresh,
They will say that the Lord is good.
He is my Rock, and there is no wrong in him or her.”
Psalm 92: 12-15
The Everyday Bible
“For whoever is bent on saving his (her) temporal life, his (her) comforts and security here, shall lose eternal life; and whoever loses (their) life, (their) comfort and security here for My sake shall find life everlasting. For what will it profit (you) if (you) gain the whole world and (you) forfeit life in the kingdom of God? Or what will (you) give as an exchange for your blessed life in the kingdom of God?”
Matthew 16: 25-26
Do I Spin My Time Away
“How do I spin my time away
In caring how to get
Ungodly wealth, and fret
My self to sweat,
As if Thou Lord hadst meant this clay
No after life, no reckoning day.
What graceless fool would love this earth
So, as with all his might
To pamper with delight
The same against right,
Forgetting his divine soul’s birth
Was nobler, and of greater worth?
Thou Lord didst frame this soul of mine
Only to honor Thee,
Not basely fond to be of vanity,
Unflesh it then, and so refine
Lord it may be all divine.
Quicken my dull-drooping spirit
That it may praise Thy name,
Cleanse it from sin and blame,
Take from it shame.
Grant that by my Savior’s merit
Eternity it may inherit.
Let is not groveling lie pressed down
With earth, but mount, and gain
An everlasting reign,
Let it retain
No dross, and when it shall have thrown
its cover off, grant it a crown.”
“O Lord, who has taught us that to gain the whole world and to lose our souls is great folly, grant us the grace so to lose ourselves that we may truly find ourselves anew in the life of grace, and so to forget ourselves that we may be remembered in Your kingdom.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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