A DEAD TREE
“The ungodly are not so, but are like the
chaff which the wind driveth away.”
Regarding the ungodly, the Psalmist says, “Not so!” This verse occurs in that same Psalm which compares the godly to a strong and healthy spiritual tree. But what a powerful comparison. It is not between a healthy tree and a sick one, or a healthy tree and a dead one, but between a healthy tree and nothing. The ungodly are nothing, chaff, dust which blows away. As Solomon says, “Vanities of vanities, all is vanity.”
You see, without our Savior, life does not amount to a hill of beans! The ungodly have no hope; there is no chance of them going to heaven. The ungodly have no inner peace; there is no forgiveness for their sins. The ungodly have no comfort in distress; they have no God to hold them in His hand. The hope and peace and comfort of the ungodly rests only in themselves, their self-esteem, their self-love, their belief that God helps those who help themselves, their feeling that they can buy God’s favor with their good deeds.
When we look at the ungodly world about us, however, we come away with a different idea. They surely don’t look like they are nothing. They are friendly and pleasant. They seem so happy and successful and prominent and in control of their lives that we tend to envy them. Then we need to remember the words of our Savior, “What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
There are two dangers that we need to avoid: one is to envy the world, and the other is to imitate it. Both are serious temptations of the devil, as serious and as devastating as the temptation for Eve to eat the fruit. To succumb is to sell our birthright for a bowl of pottage.
The answer for you and me is that, through the Holy Spirit, our focus is moved from the world to our Lord and His Word, where we find all the good things that the Psalmist suggests. There we find forgiveness, and peace, and strength, and the promise of success and the sure hope of everlasting life.