Trees and Chaff: How Famous Corruption Illumines Psalm 1

Thanks be to God for showing His children how life proves His Word true. The maturity I’ve gained in my 30s has much to do with seeing the deep substance of God’s Word after testing experiences, facts, incidents and popular news against applicable Bible verses, passages and chapters. I find that these learned lessons enhance sermons much more than trite or abstract analogies, and they do so by design. Life is meant to illumine the Bible and vice versa. (This is similar to the knowing God and self paradigm of Calvin’s Institutes, chapter 1). Of course, more than anything, Bill and Hillary Clinton are prompting my reflections now.

I just finished listening to Clinton Cash – the chilling account of the Clintons’ audacious worldwide scandals. A quick example that is their machinations writ large: Swedish telecommunications company, Ericsson, sells equipment to Iran. This transaction gets flagged by a governing body because Iran is on a bad list. Ericsson pays Bill more than $500K for a few speeches, which encourages Secretary of State Hillary to remove “telecommunications” from a list of sanctioned goods to Iran. Ericsson can resume their selling after and because they kissed the Clinton ring. So it goes in India, Russia, Canada, Congo, Columbia, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Ireland and the US.

I can tell you that being privy to international corruption makes one feel small and hopeless. One not privy to Psalm 1:1, of course. The Clintons have done much walking, standing and sitting in ungodly counsel, in sinful ways and in scornful seats. In fact, that’s the truth of the book – the Clinton’s don’t just pursue evil, they are evil. They are the embodiment of ungodly counsel, wayward paths, scornful seats, scheming, conniving, bribing, etc. If counsel were in an empty room, Bill or Hillary would make it ungodly just by walking into it. But they are also chaff.

As I meditated day and night (Psalm 1:2, but not quite a whole day or night) about the qualities of the tree and chaff in Psalm 1, it is obvious that the tree is deep and impervious and prolific. It is obvious that the chaff is ephemeral and doomed. It is fairly obvious that the righteous tree “prospers in whatever he does” precisely because he avoids evil and meditates on God’s law (vv. 1-2). In fact, this is the definition of prosperity and righteousness – i.e., shunning evil in all forms and meditating on God’s blessed statutes. However, it is less obvious and ironic that the chaff of verse 4 tries to establish deep roots, only to end up as wisp of nothing at the edge of a plant. The very practices – the multi-level scheming of verse 1 in place of the singular meditation of verse 2 – that are meant to protect against threats, build strategic alliances and pave a power path to worldwide dominion actually cause the ungodly to wither and end up as cursed chaff. Actually, the scheming of verse 1 is what Psalm 2:1 refers; i.e, it is the conspiring and the vain plotting against the Lord and His Anointed that arouses God’s anger and causes the ungodly to be contemptible poofs though they aim to be inexorable oaks.

Ultimately, the chaff are cursed in their plotting because they do so against Jesus Christ.

Bill and Hillary Clinton require international friends and operatives at every level of almost every federal agency to shield them from penal recourse. Their vast network of influence and influencers (what the author calls, “Clinton World”) are also required to tap into international riches mostly owing to the cornering of natural resources. Their maneuvering is meant to send deep roots into all the world. They are supposed to be the oaks while the less connected are political chaff. And from all accounts over the last 25 years, it appears that is the case. Again, apart from meditating on Psalm 1, it would appear that the Clintons are political trees that prosper in whatever they do. But, again, they are chaff.

I don’t encourage you to read or listen to the book, but I do exhort you to meditate on God’s Word lest you find international intrigue mystifying. The book is read by a robotic Walter Dixon, and his stiff, sober tone is meant to accentuate the gravity of conspiracy. Be that as it may, the Lord in heaven laughs at the schemers who will pay homage to king Jesus. They are merely part of His inheritance, and they and the Clintons are warned to tremble before the Lord or else He will blow them away and then burn them up. But happy are the “trees” that take refuge in the Lord (Ps. 2:12).

(A compelling conference in Lakeland on Saturday will discuss some of the ideas above. It promises to be good fellowship, the type you will want to walk, stand and sit in: Witness: Life in a Post-Christian World.)

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