In the first three verses of Psalm 1, the Lord reveals how to become blessed and prosperous. In today’s study, I want to focus on the fourth verse. (Click here for my thoughts on Psalm 1:3).
The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away.
The first thing I need to point out is that the word wicked here does not refer to people who commit obvious sins: adulterers, murderers, thieves, and so on. When you’re studying the Bible, you have to take the whole into account. “Wicked” is being contrasted with the man described in the first three verses of the psalm, the one who avoids the world’s sinful patterns, instead delighting and meditating on the Lord’s instruction. Taking that into account, we can rightly conclude that a bona fide Christian, one who has faith in Yeshua as their Savior, could be labeled as “wicked.”
Yes, there are a lot of church-goers who have never made a heart commitment to God. But there are plenty of those who have, and who sin on a regular basis and don’t realize it!
How can that happen? Two steps. First, they become entrenched in the world’s way of thinking because it surrounds them, has infiltrated their minds since birth. This cultural brainwashing leads to self-deception, which is the most dangerous kind of deception. Because we are products of the mainstream culture, we can become blind to the many ways its worldview clashes against God’s holiness. That blindness enables us to hear godly preaching, or read the Bible, and justify our actions which clearly contradict what we’re hearing or reading.
I believe that once saved, always saved (assuming a person comes to God of their own volition with a humble and repentant heart, rather than merely making a head-acknowledgement of belief). However, even true believers can get lost.
That doesn’t mean that they are eternally damned. It means that in this life, they’ve lost their way with the Father.
When you take the first four verses together, “the wicked” include both those who have never acknowledged God and desired to live to please Him, as well as believers who have backslidden.
They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Chaff is the hard shell around grain that must be removed before the grain is edible. It weighs almost nothing, so any little breeze can blow it around.
So those who are lost, for whichever of the two reasons I just mentioned, are neither fruitful or blessed. Rather, because of their choice to follow the advice of the ungodly and to walk in the paths of sinners, their lives are empty, void of any of sense of purpose. Because of that, temptations and opportunities can and do blow them every which way.
Happiness is a fleeting emotion gained by worldly and fleshly pleasures. Once the pleasure is over, they find that they remain an empty shell. And once again, the ways of the world influence them, instead of they being able to influence the world.
Your next step
If you have never humbled yourself before God and asked Him to be Lord over your life, that is what you need to do in order to be blessed and to prosper in everything you do. If you are a believer and you have any sense that you have backslidden; if you’re tired of feeling purposeless; if you’re laden with guilt and shame because you know you haven’t kept your heart, mind and actions set on the Father; then you need to turn back to Him. Pray to be able to trust Him again. Because in the end, believers backslide because they stop trusting God and start trusting the world.
If you are in neither of the two above categories, pray for someone who is. Every day.