“The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psalm 1:4-6 ESV)
In biblical times, wheat was harvested and threshed by hand. The harvested heads of grain were beaten with flails to crush and separate the stalks and hulls from the wheat kernels. The separated grain kernels and crushed hulls were tossed into the air. The heavier wheat kernels would fall to the ground to be gathered up, while the crushed hulls and bits of stalks—the chaff—would be swept away by the wind.
According to the psalmist, wicked people—those who reject the Creator and His ways—“are like chaff that the wind drives away.” They are no more substantial that those bits of left-over, crushed hulls of grain. Yet as we look at the world around us, we may disagree with the psalmist’s observation. From our point of view, the wicked appear to be very well established and often quite successful in their wickedness. The inspired psalmist also acknowledges this distressing reality, saying in another psalm, “I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind” (Psalm 73:3-5 ESV). The wicked seem to have the upper hand—for now.
There was a time, a short time, when the wicked triumphed even over the Son of God. According to God’s plan for our salvation, Jesus allowed Himself to be overcome by “the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53b ESV), and for our sake He was condemned and crucified. Then, on the first Easter morning, Jesus rose from the dead in victory over sin, death, and Satan, overcoming the power of darkness, overcoming this world’s evil. We are cleansed from our sins by Jesus’ blood, and His victory is our victory. Following in Jesus’ footsteps, we too must bear the cross. Although we will at times suffer from the wickedness that, for now, seems so triumphant, we know that Jesus has overcome the world. We pray that the wicked would turn from evil and repent as we bear witness to our Savior and to the forgiveness and hope found only through faith in His Name.
We know that the wicked will not always triumph. As the psalmist tells us, the day is coming when the unrepentant wicked and their evil ways will perish. Jesus will return as King and Judge, and the wicked “will not stand” in the Day of Judgment. Like bits of chaff carried off by the wind, the wicked will fall before the King of kings. But we, who are clothed by faith in Jesus’ righteousness, will stand firm in the judgment because, according to our Lord’s promise, by faith we have “already passed from death to life” (John 5:24b ESV). Like the kernels of wheat at the harvest, we will be gathered up into our Lord’s presence to live with Him forever.
Prayer: Lord, keep me safe from evil until the day I am gathered into Your eternal kingdom. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. Sadly, those who knowingly do evil oftentimes seem to flourish in this world. How does that stack up next to what the Bible says?
2. How does knowing that Christians have “passed from death to life” make a difference in the way you view the world?
3. How can we hold fast in faith to God though the world assails us on all sides?