I have some wonderful distractions that my ADD eyes can see out my office window. Looking across the fields I can see Martin’s Elevator, watch trains go by on the CSX line, and even see how the traffic is moving on Interstate 81.
And I can also check out the weather to see if my new #1 enemy is at work. That is the wind. There are few bushes in the foreground and a maple tree beyond the side parking lot. They give me a sense of the wind movement here on the knoll where the church sits – one of the windiest places anywhere. Actually the church is on some of the highest ground locally, which is not immediately obvious at first glance.
I say the wind is my enemy now because of all of the cycling miles that I do. Even the cold only stops me once it goes under about 40 degrees. The wind is the real problem that makes it a rough experience in any temperature.
And in Psalm 1 that we have been looking at this week, the wind represents trials and troubles and judgment.
Psalm 1:4 – Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Here we see the rooted life described in contrastive terms, comparing the strength of those rooted in righteousness like a tree with a strong foundation to the wicked who are like the chaff – all that extra stuff around the grain at the time of harvest.
While sitting in my office last week, I was able to look out my window at the wheat fields being harvested. I should have taken a picture at that time, as it was like a total dust storm with the chaff blowing away. Last year at the season of the harvest of this field (which we actually own and rent to the folks at Martin’s) I was biking back to the church from Cearfoss. And you could see it almost a mile away, it looked like a dark storm on the horizon.
Now, a week later, where is the grain that was harvested? It is saved in silos to be used. We can find it. But where is the chaff? It is gone … blown away … it cannot be found and is not wanted to be found.
These final verses look beyond even this life to the bigger picture of both this life and the next. There is a way of living that gives success in each, and a way of living that is the pathway to destruction.
The godly man’s roots are in God’s Word and connected to truth; the ungodly are rooted in what looks permanent – materialism and man’s philosophy – but proves to be weak in the end at the day of judgment.
The writer (likely David) brings back some of the verbs and nouns from the beginning, where the righteous stands, walks, sits…
Here, the wicked …
… does not stand in the judgment. The righteous stands, though not in their own righteousness but rather in that of the Righteous One.
… will not be seated in the assembly of the righteous. They don’t have a seat with God at the end of it all. So why would you want to regularly hang out with someone who doesn’t even have a ticket (other than to encourage them to receive the free ticket that is available for them)?
… do not walk in the way of the righteous – a way that God oversees, guides and protects. They have their own way, described as a path to destruction. Jesus picked up this very theme of the two ways – of one that seems right to a man, while encouraging rather to choose the narrow path that leads to life.
So, be rooted! Don’t get blown away by the wind.
There is a tendency I notice in ministry with every sermon, and that is to think or to say, “This today – this topic – this is the answer to it all.” Well, this Psalm 1 topic of rootedness is pretty close to being just that. There is a reason it is Psalm #1 and placed at the beginning of the Psalter, for it gives us the macro categories of life and of timeless truth. It’s not actually that complicated.