Friday, February 03, 2012

Blown Away!

The mIgh 'oH ... rur the yub nuq the SuS drives DoH.
The wicked are ... like the chaff which the wind drives away. Psalm 1:4

podcast version

Picture for a moment what you consider to be your enemies. Imagine them before you. Consider those who represent to you, the most formidable villains. This is the wicked, the rishaim in Hebrew, or mIgh in Klingon. These are the adversaries of all that was described in the first three verses of Psalm 1. In this psalm we have read that the blessed person will refuse to join in with the wicked. We've heard that these blessed ones who dwell on God's words will flourish like a well rooted tree. Such a blessed person will endure.

The psalmist now turns back to consider the other side of the coin: the wicked. These are those who rur the yub SuS drives DoH (are like the chaff the wind drives away).

Chaff: Not a familiar term in an increasingly urban world. This verse depends on our knowing that grains like wheat actually have to be processed, crushed so the outer cover of the the grain, this chaff, can be thrown away.

These words assure us that ultimately the threat of the wicked is insubstantial. Their works will not last. Perhaps reflecting on this Psalm, one ancient writer wrote:

"The hope of the wicked is like
thistledown blown by the wind
or like foam blown by a storm.
It is like smoke dissipated by the wind,
It is soon forgotten..." (Wisdom 5:14)
The wicked, however powerful they may seem, will finally be blown away, leaving no trace.

I would say that the duties of believers includes helping one another remember this. We need to support each other in the face of the most crushing defeats of life. Defeats that we cannot always avoid. Remember, the process of separating the wheat from the chaff meant crushing the grain so that the worthless chaff is removed.

The Hebrew word for chaff, mowts, is rendered here with the Klingon word 'yub.' yub refers to something like the rind or shell of a naH, a fruit or nut. It's the part you throw away. And I like to think about how with grain, this "throwing away" is accomplished by simply letting the wind carry it off. It underlines to me how flimsy these enemies, the wicked, ultimately are. Like shutting down a hologram projection, they will be gone completely.

There is more to think about here. The contrast presented, the "wicked" versus the "blessed," represents the choice each of us faces in life. Considering this verse, one writer notes:

"Chaff is very light and is carried away by even the slightest wind, while the good grain falls back to the earth. Chaff is a symbol of a faithless life that drifts along without direction. Good grain is a symbol of a faithful life that can be used by God. Unlike grain, however, we can choose the direction we will take." (Life Application Bible)

yub naH ghap? Chaff or wheat? Which will you, and I, choose to be?

No comments: