Psalm 120 – Dear God, Deal With The Liars

This Psalm is intensely personal. 

Here is a Psalmist dealing with some nasty pieces of work who make matters worse for him through their lying. Few things in life are more despicable than deceitful people in your space. Sounding sweet in one breath to your face whilst sowing discord behind your back. Talking tough and supportive by your side before being feeble and divisive when you leave. 

Some people experience at work, in the home and other places where you expect better than that degree of wickedness. There has to be the understanding, however, that we will not improve things by taking matters into our own hands. We have the precious privilege of being able to call on God and trust Him to come through for us in dealing with those despicable types. 

It’s easier said than done when you endure such tough circumstances, but grace is often available to show us the bigger picture. That grace also gives space for no waste to displace the smiling face of a person who knows God supports those who love His Word and love Him for what He does all the time. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 119 – Life in the Law of the Lord

Law, Word, Statutes, Precepts, Decrees, Commands and Promises. 

Seven words used often in NIV in this Psalm to express what had been stated in the first Psalm. That the man is blessed who delights in the Law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night. That blessing is expressed in suffering and hardship, that blessing is expressed against significant opposition to that delightful Law. That blessing is evident in every season of life because it is not a mere desire to be a do-gooder or to hit the right number of points. What underpins it is a desire to know and love the good Lord who has given this good Law. He has created us and in Him is everything needed to truly live not just hope to survive or blunder from one issue to the other. 

The longest Psalm in the collection merited a day and night to consider it and highlight key verses from it, which I endeavoured to do throughout the day. The main things I emerged with was just how crucial love, desire and focus is on the Word of God. And also how that love is not for text or legality but to embrace a relationship with the good God who in His goodness shows the way in His Word to enjoy life if we have the heart to turn to Him love what He loves and despise what He despises. 

That’s a lifetime commitment, but it’s also one that we see personified in the One who fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. It’s dynamic life changing encounters with the God who speaks and as we hear and respond accordingly do we too can live to praise Him and know Him more. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 118 – You Have Become My Salvation 

To be honest with you, different Psalms bring out different responses in me. Some are interesting, some are challenging, some take a while to grab my interest, some are heart-wrenching. 

This Psalm, however, evoked such a wild reaction in me I could not hold back the tears of adoration and acclamation to the Lord who has become my salvation. Reading of how the Psalmist was about to give up but God strengthened him and he enjoyed cutting down the enemy around him was deeply profound and inspirational. 

My enemies are not people from warring sides, they are the fears and anxieties, they are the pride and smug satisfaction, they are spiritual forces that look to discourage, distract and depress me. They have sought to kill me for years and have only intensified. But they are cut down in the name of the Lord. They are cut down every time they rise up because God has become my salvation. No wonder it’s worth our praise and adoration. No wonder the Lord’s doing is marvellous in our eyes. 

I couldn’t go through this Psalm without massive praises to God and I certainly have a greater and deeper appreciation for this Psalm than ever before. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 116 – A Very Good Reason to Love Him

It is very difficult for me to read this Psalm. Very difficult. 

It’s difficult because to read of someone who knows what it is to be rescued and so express this great love for God reminds me of what God has rescued me from. The darkness of depression, the despair of feeling worthless, the delusion of thinking I can stumble from one crash to another and make it without help. He rescued me from a pit. He rescued me. 

I too can lift up the cup of salvation because of His goodness towards me. If that is all I can offer, I offer it wholeheartedly. As I too can live a life returning thanks to Him, as that is all I can do. I know there is nothing I could ever do to repay Him. He is not even asking for payment. A response of dedicated thanksgiving, a sacrifice of my life to that extent is more than reasonable.  

This is a profound Psalm to consider at whatever season you find yourself in. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 115 – Dead vs the Living

The collection of Psalms has many reasons why it makes sense to spend life praising God. This particular Psalm highlights a reason by exercising comparison. 

Man-made idols for worship is a ridiculous notion for two reasons. Firstly, man worshipping something he made really is daft in itself. Secondly, as the Psalmist astutely notes, so much adulation and attention is given to it that eventually the worshippers become like it. Indeed they become like it being dead losing all capacity to talk, hear, move and sense what is around. Referring to the man made for a point of worship is literally a dead end. 

The contrast is on when considering the Almighty, the God of Creation. He gave us all we have including our senses. He does not look as we look – because He sees perfectly. He does not act like we act, because His acts are perfect every time. Yet there is enough about Him for us to connect with Him for not only is He alive, He is the author of life! 

It is when we remember that and acknowledge Him in such a glorious way that can live without fear because we know He is with us and for us and blesses us just by His presence. That’s particularly heartening news in times of distress and sorrow. In Him we have a living reminder that death and the dead can’t do much but as long as we are alive and know the source of life we might as well give Him the glory. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 114 – This Is Awesome

Theme parks and pleasure centres go out of their way to create thrilling experiences for the paying customers. Rides and attractions which go as far as safely possible to take your breath away and leave your senses heightened and frazzled at the audacious technical marvels. 

Other entertainment feats are put together to similarly dazzle, amuse, stimulate and evoke strong emotional responses to the ingenuity of man. No expense is spared to do better than the last attempt. These efforts are made worthwhile when viewers remark how awesome the experience was. 

As yet, however, no one has performed such a tremendous feat that nature itself is taken aback by it. God, merely displaying His glorious character, shook the very foundation of the earth He created when He called His people out of slavery to make them His own. It was truly awesome as the sea made room for the people to cross before drowning the pursuing former oppressors. It was truly when mountains shook and fire roared when He showed up to confirm His covenant with His people. 

This display was not for entertainment, but it drew greater awe than all of man’s best efforts combined. For there is something truly awesome when God shows up to let His creation know that we belong to Him. It is awesome to the degree that not even death can subdue that glorious reality that our God will do what is necessary overcoming all opposition for His people to know that He is theirs and they are His. 

That is awesome. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden