The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Worthless. Useless. Helpless. These are the ones without God. They have value in that Jesus died for them, but without faith in His saving work, even that value is lost on them. They have a use, but sadly it is only to show that the end of sin is destruction and the ways of death. They could receive help if they would simply trust in Jesus. But they don’t. Scornfully, they turn away.
The Psalmist tells us that the ungodly are like the chaff from wheat when it is being winnowed (this is a process not too familiar with our modern non-agrarian culture). Picture instead the fluffy seed plumes on an expired dandelion. A strong wind comes and away they float. There is no market for fluffy seed plumes. They hold no intrinsic value. They aren’t desirable, rather, culture has literally spent millions of dollars on killing them. These plumes do not have hands. Instead, they have a big puffy, fluffy top that seems to catch the wind and drag them wherever it wants to. They don’t determine which direction they will go, rather, the unseen wind around them drags them from one point to the next. They are helpless.
This is a pretty dire but accurate picture of the unrighteous. It doesn’t flatter. It doesn’t sugar-coat it. It is just the painful truth. They are worthless, useless, and helpless without God. As the chaff that is driven by the wind, they move blindly after their own lusts, heaping on their own heads the destructive fruit of ungodliness.
But we cannot end there. The gospel compels us to press on past the despair. Where there is a lack of worth, or a lack of purpose, or a lack of hope in the ungodly, we should not finish our interaction with them. Certainly we would not take their advice. We wouldn’t become like them, but we should bring the liberating truth of Christ to them. We are called to be harbingers of hope, declaring the wonderful truth that Jesus came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. In Christ, their helplessness can be met with grace, their uselessness can be vanquished with purpose, and their worthlessness can disintegrate at the value of His sacrificial love.
Food For Thought: What is the Psalmist comparing the ungodly to when he says, "The ungodly are not so"?