Bible Study

What is the Chaff to the Wheat?

Michael Beck Michael Beck

Scripture likens false words to chaff (i.e., the worthless, indigestible husk that must be removed from a kernel of wheat before it can be eaten.)

The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:28-32)

False prophets and teachers present themselves as oracles of God and benefactors of the people, whose words need to be trusted. But to the contrary, their words are false and need to be rejected.

Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. (Jeremiah 7:8)

People hate uncertainty; therefore they are susceptible to those who definitively declare what WILL be.

And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken. (Ezekiel 22:28)

People want “assurance” that things WILL be okay.

And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life (Deuteronomy 28:65,66)

assurance > Hebrew – aman > KJV – believe 44, assurance 1, faithful 20, sure 11, established 7, trust 5, verified 3, stedfast 2, continuance 2, father 2, bring up 4, nurse 2, be nursed 1, surely be 1, stand fast 1, fail 1, trusty 1

False ministers play into people’s deepest fears and desires, promising certain “results” which inevitably fail to transpire.

Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place. Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them. (Jeremiah 14:10-16)

The less people are walking with the Lord, the less “wheat” they will want and the more “chaff” they will gravitate toward. False prophecy and teaching are popular because they tell people what they want to hear.

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

Righteous ministers boldly speak of God’s judgment upon ungodliness and unrighteousness – past, present, and future.

The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. (Psalm 37:30)

Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things. (Proverbs 28:5)

The wicked have no desire to hear about the judgment of God. False prophets and teachers avoid the subject.

Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment? (Malachi 2:17)

Those who are “at ease in Zion” want to eliminate or put “far away” the idea of God’s judgment.

Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came! Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border? Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near (Amos 6:1-3)

False prophets and teachers peddle “smooth” words that soothe the fears of unrepentant.

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD. Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 12:21-28)

When God “arises” to judgment He makes known that those who conceived chaff brought forth stubble.

Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself. Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, as fire, shall devour you. (Isaiah 33:10,11)

God eventually invalidates the “chaff.”

He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. (Job 12:20)

He deprives the trusted ones of speech, And takes away the discernment of the elders. (Job 12:20 NKJV)

God gives “wheat” to those who “stand in His counsel.” “Chaff” belongs to those who “run” without being sent, and speak without hearing.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings (Jeremiah 23:16-22)

God confirms the “wheat” ministered by those who are hearing from Him. The “chaff” peddled by those who speak a vision of their own heart is “but for a moment.”

A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly. (Proverbs 21:28)

A false witness will perish, But a person who listens will speak forever. (Proverbs 21:28 NASB)

The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment. (Proverbs 12:19)

What proceeds from the mouth of the righteous is “choice silver” (i.e., extremely valuable.) The heart of the wicked and the words that flow from it are worthless.

The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. (Proverbs 10:20)

God promises to preserve His words forever and “cut off” every smooth and presumptuous tongue.

Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him. The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted. (Psalm 12:1-8)

Many in the church have been as guilty as the world in putting forth “chaff.” God is looking for those who will “stand before Him” and receive only His wisdom and knowledge – which will provide “stability” in these times.

The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure. (Isaiah 33:5,6)

stability > KJV – faithfulness 18, truth 13, faithfully 5, office 5, faithful 3, faith 1, stability 1, steady 1, truly 1, verily 1

If we will be oracles of God in this day we must remove the chaff from the wheat.

Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them. (Jeremiah 15:19)


Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.