To see the first of Thomas’ meditations, read part 1 here.
+ In the name of our risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
1: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the council of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2: But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and in his Law doth meditate day and night.
3: And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season, his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth, shall prosper.
4: The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff, which the wind driveth away.
5: Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the Congregation of the righteous.
6: For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season, his leaf shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”.
“For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:8)
A tree planted by a river never wants for water. Its roots are always tapped into the always plentiful source of fresh water. The study of Scripture is a worthy enterprise for the Christian to undertake. As Christians we ought to have a love for the Word of God. I would even go so far as to say that without such study, we cannot expect success as disciples of Christ. I will not say that the study of Scripture is always going to be easy, or that it won’t be difficult at times to make time in our schedules, but what I will say is that you will profit greatly from it. From Scripture we find what God is saying to us. We need not wait for a booming voice from the heavens, we have his Word.
The study of Scripture is also very helpful in growing in holiness, the process known as sanctification. We cannot expect to grow in holiness unless we make Scripture Study of the utmost importance. We cannot find out what God is telling is without it. We cannot know His will without it. It is through the Word, and the Spirit working through it that helps us to progress in sanctification. Martin Luther said “Let the man who would hear God speak, read Holy Scripture”.
The sufficiency of Scripture is ever more an important thing to grasp hold of in the face of attacks upon this truth, by some who would forsake the revealed and final Word of God in search of new words and new revelations which can only lead to error. They listen not “to” the Word of God but rather “for” the Word of God, a marked difference. I forget who said it, but I love the quote that says, “If you want to hear God speak, read the Bible. If you want to hear an audible voice, read it aloud”.
So far we find that a man is blessed if does not identify with the wicked, and if he does not follow them in their ways, but rather takes delight in the reading and study of Scriptures.
Now in the fourth verse we find that the ungodly are quite the opposite. They are like the chaff. After the wheat harvest, they would gather the wheat into a barn, and they would thresh it to remove the outer husk from the wheat kernels. After the threshing process was completed, they would then take winnowing forks and winnow the wheat. If it was a windy day, they would take the wheat, and, with the winnowing forks, toss it up in the air, and the heavier kernels would fall back to the ground, but the chaff would blow away, or they would use a winnowing fan to scoop the wheat up and then pour it out as the chaff blew away. This image of a winnower with a winnowing fan is the image St. John the Baptist uses in the Gospel According To St. Matthew: “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Both of these verses employ the usage of the word “chaff” for the ungodly. I don’t think it would do harm to say that the man called “blessed” in this Psalm can be likened to the wheat in this sense.
Because the ungodly are like the chaff, they shall not stand in the judgment. What does this mean?
C.H. Spurgeon, in his “Treasury of David”, had this to say: “They shall stand there to be judged, but not to be acquitted. Fear shall hold upon them there; they shall not stand their ground; they shall flee away; they shall not stand in their own defence; for they shall blush and be covered with eternal contempt.