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 113 – In The Habit of Picking You Up 

Like we needed more reasons to praise God, this Psalmist makes a big deal of praising the incomparable Creator of the Universe. The reason? As great as He is, He still looks at those in lowly conditions and picks them up. 

This is more than rags to riches, this is not about turning a pauper into a multimillionaire. This is about a shepherd boy out in the middle of nowhere with no one considering him. This is about a young virgin of no repute with no one considering her. This is about the stuttering farm boy in the back of the building shuffling his feet awkwardly with no one considering him. This is about a paralysed beggar outside a temple passed by more often than not with no one considering him. This is about a girl taken into a foreign country with only her Uncle for support and no one considering her. 

It’s great news that our God sees and hears and makes radical transformation in the unlikely circumstances, because that’s just the kind of loving incomparable Creator of the Universe we serve.

It’s another reason why I love Him because He is in the habit of seeing the lowly and picking them up. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 112 – The Blessed Brother 

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Familiar question, right? 

In many responses, underneath is the desire to be rich, secure and happy. For many parents it is the underlying desire for their children. Some even would go as far as to say they are reflecting the desire of our heavenly father which has lead to some pursuing as a priority a prosperous life. 

That’s a pity, really. It’s a pity because that pursuit of prospetity misses the point of what it really is to be blessed. Someone who would have a good idea of what it is to be blessed shared his own experience in this Psalm. What he discovered was to be blessed is sourced in a right relationship with God. Loving Him and reflecting His character. Prioritising that pursuit turns the priorities from wanting to have lots of stuff and be the centre of all good things there is a greater desire to want to be a blessing to others – generosity, mercy and righteousness are not self-seeking behaviours, these are the characteristics of someone who has engaged with a generous, merciful and righteous God. 

These characteristics are not dependent on what we have, these are reflections of who we are. As we prioritise pursuing Him, there we find the path to experience what it is to be blessed. Are there benefits? Of course there are, but even those are a byproduct of keeping the main thing in focus at all times. 

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you want to be blessed, it pays to keenly follow what this Psalmist suggests. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 111 – A Lifetime of Study (No, Not That Kind) 

It remains a reality that some people finished school grateful to emerge from the ordeal technically alive. The thought of a classroom sends shivers down the spine. The mere word study would bring them close to the edge of insanity. The experiences were painful, it is something they don’t want to even have nightmares about again if they can help it. Tell someone it’s time to study and they think it is something to be left to boffins and other academic types. 

The affliction is evident in church where the word theology and the thought of being a theologian conjures images of grim faced old gentleman with vocabulary bigger than an elephant or young bucks eager to show off their knowledge of men long since dead who wrote words in ye olde English. 

This Psalm is evidence that theology is not just about books, books and more books. In fact if anything true worship is true theology, because appreciating who God is and seeking to know Him is what theology is all about. That is done as much like enjoying a great meal or a stunning sunset as it is spending time in Scripture. 

Exploring who He is and what He has done and is doing is definitely a lifetime’s work. That work is not best done reading a book and taking notes. That delight is best experienced engaging with Him in the many ways He opens for us. Talking and listening, watching and participating. 

So here is an invitation to know Him through His wonderful works. Works that had you in mind. Works that were delivered so that you could enjoy a lifetime of beauty even in tragedy and mystery even in clarity as you dive head first into the quest that leads far beyond this life. 

It’s alright, you won’t need to go back to a classroom to get the best from the experience. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 110 – We Need A… 

The Psalmist sees something. He sees someone. Someone he knows his audience needs. Not just a swashbuckling hero, not a muscle bound strongman. 

It requires a ruler who will exercise righteousness and justice. It requires a priest to meditate the peace. It requires a judge to dispel the wickedness and apply the cause for the marginalised. 

The Psalmist sees him. He celebrates the Father for him.

Do you see him? 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden