Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud and as the early dew that passes away…
Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney. This verse may be taken as a picture of a human life unregenerate, out of vital sympathy with God and goodness.
I. IT IS DECEPTIVE. "Like the morning cloud." In Palestine and countries of the same latitude, dense clouds often appear in the morning, cover the heavens, and promise fertilizing showers that never come. The farmer whose land is parched by drought looks up with anxious hope as he sees them gather and float over his head. But they often pass away without a fertilizing drop, and leave him with a disappointed and anxious heart. A life without moral goodness is necessarily deceptive. It walks in a vain show, it deceives itself and deceives others; it is an acted lie from beginning to end. How many lives seem full of promise! They awaken as much interest and as much hope as clouds that float over parched lands; but they result in nothing but disappointment. Oh, what lives there are which are like clouds without water!
II. IT IS EVANESCENT. "The early dew that passeth away." In such latitudes, too, the copious dews that sparkle on the hedges and the fields soon evaporate and disappear. How transient is life! - not the life of the wicked only, but the life of the righteous as well; just like the dew, appearing for a short time, then gone for ever. The Bible abounds with figures to represent the transientness of human life - the grass, the flower, the vapor, the dew, the shadow. The millions that make up this generation are only as dewdrops, sparkling for an hour and then lost and gone!
III. IT IS WORTHLESS. "As chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor." Like chaff stowed away from the threshing-floor. Chaff, empty, dead, destined to rot. How empty the life of an ungodly man! The life of the righteous is grain - it will grow and flourish; but that of the wicked is only chaff. It is destitute of moral vitality. "Driven away." "The wicked is driven away in his wickedness, whilst the righteous hath hope in his death." The wicked die reluctantly, they hold on to the last; it is only the strong storm of death that bears them off.
IV. IT IS OFFENSIVE. "As the smoke out of the chimney." The ancient houses of Palestine were without chimneys; the smoke filled the houses, and smoke is a nuisance. A corrupt life is evermore offensive to the moral sense of mankind. To what conscience is falsehood, selfishness, carnality, meanness, and such elements that make up the character of the wicked, at all pleasing? To none. The aroma of a corrupt life is as offensive to the moral soul as "smoke out of the chimney."
"Like to the falling of a star,
Or as the flight of eagles are,
Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue,
Or silver drops of morning dew,
Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
Or bubbles which on water stood,
E'en such is man, whose borrowed light
Is straight called in, and paid to-night.
The wind blows out, the bubble dies,
The spring entombed in autumn lies,
The dew dries up, the star is shot,
The flight is past - and man forgot."
(Henry King.) D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.
WEB: Therefore they will be like the morning mist, and like the dew that passes away early, like the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the threshing floor, and like the smoke out of the chimney.