Psalm 144 – For The Coming Peace 


I am a huge fan of this Psalm. 

Everything in this is building up to the glorious time of peace – real, true, lasting peace. Peace as evidenced by the removal of crime and the threat of evil. Peace as evidenced by the flourishing of the offspring and a fruitful and prosperous land wherein that offspring can flourish. The picture of peace depicted in itself is breathtaking. 

The means of reaching that peace is even more epic. In as much as the Psalmist is prepared for conflict, he knows the victory is only accomplished by God Himself establishing it. Peace that lasts and is meaningful comes when God intervenes to establish once and for all that it is not the wicked who prevail. It is not injustice that wins. It is not the greedy that are blessed. When He fights the battle, it is one that is thoroughly won not out of taking glory in violence, but in taking joy in the rule of a glorious God ushering true peace in our time. 

That’s something worth singing a new song about. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 143 – Desperate 


Time is running out, the opposition are pressing in, they will get there any moment, you need help and you need it desperately. 

That is this Psalm. The thing is even in the state desperation, the Psalmist doesn’t go looking elsewhere for the help. He throws himself at the mercy of God. Pleading for Him to come through and leaving no room for doubt that when the victory comes through, only one will get the glory and only one will continue to receive his wholehearted allegiance. 

This is a good way of seeing just how much God means to us when we are challenged with desperate times. Do desperate measures leave us crying out to God all the more? 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 142 – When You’re Lonely, All Alone 


The Psalmist was not physically on his own at the time of the Psalm’s composition. He was surrounded by an interesting ragtag of folks who bought into his character. 

Yet even with loving people around you, when you’re going through trying times often it can feel like you’re lonely. Nobody there to help out. Nobody at your side. Nobody to turn to as the situation looks to get worse. The Psalmist knew this very well and trained himself to know that those are the times to cry out to God who hears and knows and feels. 

I love the freedom with which the Psalmist communes with God from the depth of his being. He has the release to beautifully and movingly express just how much help he needs. He expresses just how desperate times can be. 

It’s reassuring to know we are not alone. That’s not a straightforward reality though, and when the chips are down and friends are few, it is for us cry out. He encourages it, He wants us to be participants to experience this kind of life for ourselves. The life that says even in our loneliness, we don’t have to be lonely all alone. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 141 – Help Me Watch Myself 


This Psalm is an intriguing one. 

I am a big fan of men of God being honest about inner conflict. This one is intriguing because the Psalmist clearly loves God and wants to follow Him in doing what’s right. In this Psalm he acknowledges that he doesn’t want to slip into the dark side. The plotting and scheming of wicked people for your demise is serious stuff. You don’t want to get caught up in their stuff. At the same time you are aware that there is a desire to see you fall. That adversity can lead to wanting to take matters into your own hands to deal with it. Dealing with it in your own hands, however, can lead to you using the very same tactics as your opponents to eliminate them. No need for you to get your hands dirty by doing that. Leave it to them to allow their own twisted plans to twist themselves up. 

That’s why it’s far better to accept rebukes from the righteous. Let them slap you back into shape whenever you’re thinking is likely to get twisted. That stern word can take you back to the focus on God who saves you – often from yourself. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 140 – What Justice Demands


Conversing with God brings with it certain appeals that can be made to His character. 

The Psalmist can make a request that some might be uncomfortable with in regards to his enemies. He can make this request not based on his own merits, but because of who God is. No, not a bloodthirsty violent sort who relishes in violent means to achieve His ends. No that is not the God the Psalmist appeals to. He appeals to the good God of righteousness and justice. The appeal he makes is for protection and is for God to exercise justice. 

Consider how justice in our world operates. Good flourishes when evil is overcome just as darkness is defeated in the presence of light. The appeal for justice, is that appeal that when surrounded by the forces of darkness and evil, God Himself will deal with them. Our rescuer and Saviour will come to the rescue and save us from those who desire to perpetrate evil and darkness. 

Today, I am grateful to be aware of the God of Justice. Something has to be done about evil and injustice in the world. Someone needs to do something about it. I am not calling on people to die, but I am calling for the greatness of God to once again overwhelm the forces that oppose Him. Looking to the Holy One for justice is the best place to appeal for it. As we likewise do so, we can be assured that He will do what’s right and what’s good. While He is doing that, we can endeavour to follow in the way of righteousness and justice, so we won’t fall foul of the very God we appealed to. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 139 – A Check Up With A Difference


It’s fascinating seeing people’s responses to this Psalm. 

It’s very easy to grab onto those parts of the Psalm that makes the human look good. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Thoughts to me are vast. 

This is not, however, an ode to the brilliance of humanity. This is a tremendous point of praise to the greatness of the character of God. He knows us, He made us. It is not a matter of Him finding out about us, it is about us finding ourselves through Him. Not knowing a narcissistic manner, but as an outlet of the relationship we develop with Him. The focus on Him reveals us to us. It reveals His glorious way of weaving us together and our ability to take all that and still choose to do evil. 

Even the extent of the Psalmist’s anger at the wicked is something he reflects on as the piece comes to an end. He never wants to be blindsided by his iniquities as he berates those who take pleasure in wrongdoing. That place of humility, always seeing yourself as God sees you is so important in the wider scheme. Leaving yourself open to whatever he has to show you about you and then pledging to follow Him as He leads you in such a glorious way. 

This is not a humanist document, this is still very centred on God in what has done and will do. As we pursue His thoughts, it’s important to appreciate just how kind He is to us and because of that it remains our responsibility to live in a way where people recognise who is really at the core of our faith. 

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 138 – Praise the God who Relates

God. 

Just think of the word and the concept. Beyond human comprehension in totality. Splendid, magnificent and awesome in all dimensions. 

When growing up and hearing about amazing people, famous for great things, I was given the impression that they were not attainable. You couldn’t touch them, talk to them, engage with them at all. Because they are great and I was not. Even today there’s a degree to which I feel as if some people cannot be reached or touched. They’re just not willing to stoop. They have their close crew, but no one else is allowed. 

Great though they are, they don’t even come to being in the same stratosphere as the Creator of the Universe. Yet look at Him, relating with the lowly and not too fussed about reaching those who call out to Him. He is ever ready and willing to help those who need Him. 

He is accessible and retains His greatness. He is magnificent and means to engage with His creation in that. There’s yet another great reason to praise Him and extend that good news to others to partake of this great reality. All because of … 

God. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden