Psalm 149 – Call To Praise … And … 

Here’s a good Psalm to pay attention to carefully. 

Reasons to praise God? Sure, they are there and offer strong encouragement for the readers to remember how great God is and what He does for His people. It’s all going well and then … 

“Two-edged swords … execute vengeance … punishments … bind with fetters … judgment … ” One or two folks pick up words like that and get to thinking of bloodthirsty and violent religion again. Giving permission for folks to get happy putting people forcefully in their place. 

This misses the point of the Psalm. Misses it quite significantly. Honour on God’s people is for those who are keen to see put in action godly justice. Godly justice that deals with those who oppress others and give licence to iniquity and inequity subjecting others to misery. How this is done is always lead by God Himself. Indeed how this is practiced properly is always lead and shown by God. That’s why praise is the basis for activities of justice. 

Praise reminds us that we are subject to the ultimate authority who rules wisely and with fairness, especially to the meek and humble who put their trust in Him. That’s not a bloodthirsty solution, that’s a peacemaking practice in line with the Word of God. 

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 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 

Psalm 109 – Sort Them Out, God 

It should be apparent by this stage in the collection that the Psalms covers a wide range of human experience and emotion. It is not there to just be pretty in praising and saying how beautiful God is. Sometimes it’s raw and brutal. This Psalm is one of them. 

From the start we are aware of the travails that the Psalmist is going through, but it is his response to his hardship that should arrest us in our tracks. For the grief and evil he has endured for no reason at all from those who He extended friendship to, the writer is clear what should happen to them and it is fairly forceful consequences – death and misery before it. For such great pain caused, great pain should be their lot. It is a far cry from someone looking for forgiveness whilst suffering on a cross. Yet before we decry the message in the Psalm, there are two things to remember. 

Firstly, this Psalm is referenced by Peter when it comes to time to replace Judas as the twelfth Apostle (Acts 1:20). That would give credence to the place of such outpouring for the fate of a traitor. (That’s not permission to go looking for hurt for those who betrayed you.) Secondly, Jesus Himself wasn’t backwards in coming to the point of what would happen to the one who would betray Him (Matthew 26:24). So the same Jesus that forgives does not let the wicked go unpunished. 

Therein lies a good place to take a stand even as the Psalmist does at the end of the piece. His desire is to be in a position of praise to the assembling of the saints because God will rescue him – which is the pressing issue and meanwhile God can be trusted to deal with the wicked, whatever contributions we may want to give God in advising Him how to sort them out. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 101: Singing Out For Justice 

This Psalm is not backward in coming forward. 

Sure, there are times to sing of beauty, wonder and grace. There is a time to sing of peace, sweetness and all things pleasant. That’s all good. That has its place. There is also evidently a time for us to sing about the things that matter to God. Be in no doubt in as much as His mercies endure that does not mean He is going to let the unfair, wicked and proud get away with their evil. The passion of this Psalm is palpable and challenges us as to whether the deal about justice is as close to our hearts as it flows through our actions as it clearly is to God. 

Hear the ferocity as those who do evil and are evil are summarily dismissed from God’s very presence. Consider the strong language to declare evocatively what happens to those who slanders, who are haughty, arrogant, deceitful and full of lies. There is a clear line between being merciful on one hand and tolerating the stench of iniquity in its various forms subtle and blatant. The Psalmist reflects the zero tolerance policy God has on such behaviours and attitudes. 

Sharing those qualities challenges us to share that commitment to walk with integrity. That aspect of character that is consistent and is fair, right and just whether one is observed or not. This is done not for the attention of men, but because that is what someone is when reflecting God. 

That challenge is something worth singing about as well as the lovely sentiments to a beautiful Saviour. Not just singing about them, either … 

Think on these things. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 75 – God’s Got It In Hand

Judgment. It’s not always people’s favourite subject to talk about. Usually because of our inclination to go down some conversational roads that are not too pleasant to consider. 

As with most conversations, it is something to be considered carefully. That means it has to be considered and this Psalm goes some way to considering it. What it highlights among other things that there is a Judge who can be relied on to judge fair and judge right. 

It’s also reassuring to know that this Judge has carefully considered the deeds of the wicked and has just the thing for them to consume. And by the sound of it, this will not be a sparkling vintage red wine to down with joy. 

As we see the rise and fall of so many different figures, it is not for us to get overly concerned if their rule appears to oppose the divine. It is for us to consider again what it means for God to rule. What it is for us to trust Him to judge in elevating and demoting people as He sees fit. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 73 – Turning Point 

The first part of this Psalm is something that a lot of people can relate to. It appears as though the rich are getting richer on the back of the poor who are getting poorer. The disparity between the two appears all the more stark and the degree of the unfairness of it all leaves some choked up with anger and frustration. 

The turning point for the Psalmist comes in an encounter of the divine kind. That gives a whole new perspective on things and renews the writer’s passion and devotion to the divine one who will judge in righteousness and knows the end from the beginning. 

Those sanctuary encounters are experiences we can have today without even needing to look for a specific building. Right where we are when we think things are so unfair, we can commune with God and get a glimpse of things from his perspective. Not to gloat or boast or even become smug and content with our lot. We get that glimpse to spur us on in our devotion to God and desire to allow others to get that insight so that they will also benefit from the One who has the true riches. 

Oh to have those turning points in our lives. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden