What is chaff? I like Job’s picturesque words in Job 21:18. It was speaking of the wicked and said, “They are like straw before the wind, and like chaff that a storm carries away.” Psalm 1:3 was written about those who meditate on God’s word. Verse 4 was the contrast. It says, “The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.”
In Ruth 3:2 the word winnowing was used. It said of Boaz, “…he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.” Winnowing was the practice in those days of extracting grain from the surrounding husk.
The grain was tread upon by animals until the outer shell was broken. Then it was put into large tray-like baskets. It was tossed into the air where a breeze would catch the chaff and blow it away.
Chaff is lightweight and has no substance, yet it will keep planted grain from sprouting, It has to be broken first through death. Jesus was speaking about His own upcoming death in John 12:24. He said, “…unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”
Let’s tie this into His words regarding what it means to be an authentic follower of Jesus. Matthew 16:24-25 says, “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
I want to describe our flesh as chaff. Anything fleshly is without substance, yet it can keep us from bearing harvest fruit that will glorify the Lord. Flesh exalts rather than denies. John 6:63 says that our flesh profits nothing.
Anything that we do in our flesh is chaff and fits into the category of wood, hay, and stubble from 1 Corinthians 3:12. Verse 13 says that our works will be tested by fire. Matthew 3:12 says, “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the bar; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Cull means to select and remove. I sort my dry beans before I soak them. I cull the ones that are shriveled or blighted. As we systematically read God’s word, it powerfully culls our fleshly attitudes that blight our character. More on this tomorrow.