Psalm 49 – The Perspective that Matters

Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him. (Psalms 49:16‭-‬17 ESV) 

We can get hung up on the gross injustices around us. After all, it is just not fair that some are suffering horrifically while others who are greedy and insensitive appear to prosper materially. 

It helps, then, to get a godly perspective on the matter and this Psalm does a brilliant job. Life is still of far greater worth than the accumulation of great wealth. The inevitability of death is one thing, foolishly thinking life is all about the pursuit of material riches wastes that which is invaluable. Especially knowing that for all that effort to get rich it ain’t following you when you die. 

That level of wisdom is remarkable in itself, but this Psalm goes further in pointing out that there is hope for those who trust God and not themselves. The promise of being redeemed from the dead is hope that makes life worth living.  It also resets the perspective from which we should approach life. That perspective is about not fearing the wicked in their pomp, but rather loving God for the invaluable gift He alone gives. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 48 – The Beautiful City

As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God, which God will establish forever. (Psalms 48:8 ESV) 

Places evoke a variety of feelings for people. Some are mesmerised by the speed, noise and activity of cities like London and New York. Some are captured by the physical beauty and yet evident great poverty in cities around the world. 

Indeed quite a number of glamorous and glorious cities have that mix of the awe inspiring and gut wrenching. Such a mix and range rightly gets people waxing lyrical of the virtues and vices. As yet no city can ever claim to display pure beauty physically and socially. Reflecting the common human condition, despite great works of splendour it is mired and marred with all that makes us miss out on the fullness of humanity. 

This makes Zion all the more remarkable  as a city where beauty is on display throughout because this is the city of God. Such is its greatness that all opposition is vanquished just by looking to come up against it. 

The picture painted in this Psalm is about more than a geographical location, it is a reflection of the beauty of where the rule of God is pronounced and those who dwell with Him enjoy the benefits of what it is to be in His presence. There is something to aspire to not just in wanting to get to a place with the strongest fortress imaginable. It is an ongoing relational location where the desire is to be where He is and see likewise His delight in being where we are. 

No wonder this in itself is cause for pause. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 47 – Big Up The King

There are pale and pathetic imitations of it going on throughout our lives. Someone beats a record, someone wins a trophy, someone accomplishes something of apparent note and there is the inclination to make a big deal of it. 

There was the awkward episode in scripture of King Saul returning from a military campaign to a chorus being sung about how he had slain his thousands. It was awkward in the sense that in the second part of the sing they hailed one of his underlings for slaying tens of thousands, which errrrr … kinda rubbed the King the wrong way. Made him feel a little insecure, like there was a threat to the throne from someone greater. 

This Psalm gets into the whole business of acknowledging who deserves the big deal. It is about the King, just not the human kind, but the real King of all Kings who rules over all the earth. This Psalm gets into it in getting us to truly make a big deal of Him with instruments and all our efforts. And yet as much as we endeavour, our efforts will never exhaust the efforts of getting to grips with the supreme nature of the supreme God. That is why it’s worth having a go at even beginning to contemplate His awesome nature. 

That’s why it makes all the sense in the universe to invest life in bigging up the King of the universe. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 46 – Who Rules The World 

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. (Psalms 46:9 ESV) 

Some think it’s money, some think it’s girls, some believe it belongs to the man. It’s thinking like that which gets folks up in arms looking to get their side to dominate. 

A reading of history is about the rise and fall of efforts to run  the joint. All in their own way a rejection of the true Sovereign  of the universe. In their own way it is their way of suggesting they should be in complete control. Efforts leading to skirmishes, turmoil and disarray. 

For those who know who the true Sovereign is, there is a hiding place, there is a city that won’t crumble as others go by the wayside. This place of safety is not a cocoon that leaves us unfeeling to what else is going on. It is a place to appreciate God for who He is and what He ushers in as we follow Him. Namely a rule where we will study war no more. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 45 – A Love Psalm 

It’s difficult to believe, but there was no deliberate planning for today. That remains the truth, however, that on this date we explore a Psalm that takes a different path to many of those that have been written to this point. 

Adoration and preparation seen in this Psalm of royal love. Fascinating to consider in what it says about the relationship and how it informs our approach to the most important relationship of all … 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 44 – What’s That All About, God?

Fear the Lord, reverence His name. This is the Lord, the Creator of the universe who historically has established the people and done great works in making them who they are.

Indeed due reverence is given to God at the beginning and the end of this Psalm. It’s the meat of this Psalm that is riveting though. Having established the context of a faithful and mighty God, the writers get into it in presenting their case. For all the victories they have enjoyed, they are now experiencing some serious setbacks.

Understandably in the circumstance there’s reflection to see if there’s any sin that’s been committed that would be a reason for the defeats. It’s all the more remarkable then that the answer is no – that is to say they are suffering setbacks despite still serving God wholeheartedly. What do we do in that situation?

It’s instructive in this situation that the Psalmist does not sidestep the situation. He doesn’t make excuses for God. There is honesty and respectful confrontation in the matter. “What’s up with this, God?”

What makes it respectful, however, is that ongoing knowledge that He can depend on God, He can trust God, he can cry out to God to help him. This is not a Psalm with the outcome assured, this is not a Psalm with a happy ending. This is another Psalm in the middle of sticky situation. It’s great to know that these songs are here for us when we don’t have the answers and where spouting sentiments isn’t going to cut it.

It’s great to know we can express this humble and respectful honesty with God when we’re going through.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Psalm 43 – Lighting The Way Of Escape

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! (Psalm 43:3)

This Psalm is not one of those where everything works out hunky dory. It’s another one of those songs written in the middle of going through. It’s another of those that I am grateful for because it gives us license to express the range of emotions we should experience while we’re going through.

We have permission to do that as we learn to trust and look for God to help us show the way from where we are to where we know we can be and where He can take us.

It’s not to say the way is always clear. This is why we need the honesty to expression frustration and the desire to relate to Godin ways that show how much we need Him not just to rescue us, but because we need Him. There’s a desire to be where He is and know He is where we are. It’s because of Him. Anything else removes the whole point.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden