The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Who are the ungodly? Are they open and wilful sinners? Certainly these are included, but not mainly intended. Are they the atheists, scoffers, and those who make a ribald jest of all sacred things? Yes, but not they alone. For the godly man is he who has a constant eye to God, recognises Him in all things, trusts Him, loves and serves Him. The ungodly man is he who lives in the world as if there were no God; he may be religious, but that is not enough. He attends to outward forms, but the heart of them he does not perceive. How many there are in all our congregations, therefore, who are ungodly. They do not love the Lord, or delight in communion with Him, or desire to be like Him. They are ungodly. Now concerning all such, the text utters —
I. A FEARFUL NEGATIVE. "The ungodly are not so." For
1. They are not "like a tree planted." The Christian is so. The tree planted is visited and in every way cared for by the husbandman. But the wild tree in the forest, the tree self-sown upon the plain, no one owns, no one watches over it.
2. Not like a tree planted by the rivers of waters. The believer is. He is planted not by banks which may soon dry up, far less in a desert; but by the rivers of waters. And is it not so? We know what it is to drink of the rivers of Christ's fulness. But "not so the ungodly." Days of drought will come for them.
3. Does not bring forth his fruit in his season. The righteous does so. If the ungodly have here and there a shrivelled grape it is brought forth in the wrong season. Many think that so long as they don't do wrong it is as if they did right. But mere. negative goodness will not suffice. The curse on Meroz was for not coming to the help of the Lord. They did not oppress, only did not help.
4. His leaf also shall not wither. Not so the ungodly. And
5. Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Yes, though the righteous may suffer much earthly loss. They have an inward prosperity even when the outward one is wanting. No so the ungodly. Is he really happy now? To him there is nothing good in this life. That which looketh fair is but as the paint upon the harlot's face.
II. A TERRIBLE COMPARISON. "Like the chaff" — so useless, so light and unstable, so worthless.
III. AN AWFUL PROPHECY. How near the chaff is to the grain. As yon godless parent of a Christian child. As yon helpers in various forms of Christian work; sitting side by side with the godly. Close to the grain, and yet only chaff. And to be driven away — Where, where? Jesus Christ has said, "He shall burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Who here is prepared to make his bed in hell? I beseech you by the living God, tremble and repent.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.