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 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 122 – Praying for the Peace

They called it the City of David. Were there an advisor at the time there might have been a suggestion to change its name to something glamorous like Davidopolis or Davidtown. You might think that’s a little silly, but why do you think there are places called Alexandria or Jamestown? 

Nope, they didn’t change its name, they kept it because it was fitting. As they made it the capital city it morphed into becoming a strategic religious centre. And it was all in the name – Jerusalem: City of Peace. 

No wonder, then, that the Psalmist was very keen to celebrate the place where dwelt the presence of the Lord in the Ark of the Covenant. Centuries later focus is still given to the city. Prayers are centred on it. Not just the temple, but the entire city because of its significance as the royal location for the Prince of Peace. It’s the place to be and so for all the inhabitants it is crucial that they are considered in their prayers. 

Yet if the thinking for reading the Psalm today is to just think about a city of peace geographically located in the Middle East that would miss an opportunity. What flows from the city of peace is the reality that right where we are we can experience that peace. The peace isn’t exclusively wrapped up in that land. It’s available for the living temples of the living God. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the cities of peace located wherever the community of Christ are located. We pray for the peace for their sake and the sake of the loved ones in those locale. 

We pray for the peace in the knowledge that when the King comes to rule it is a rule that will cover the earth. We pray for the peace in anticipation of the foretaste of the peace that can be experienced now preparing us for eternity of this peace. 

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 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 23 – Green Pastures 

The 23rd Psalm is arguably the most well-known. 

You talk of scriptures to memorise and this one is right up there. So familiar is it that sometimes we can take it for granted and think we know it when there may be more to it than that. 

This is why it remains worthwhile reflecting and meditating on it. The imagery of the shepherd and the sheep. Nurtured, fed, rested and led is an evocative one. From being beside still waters to a table prepared before the enemy there is so much rich visuals that pop up when you consider the Psalm. 

As you might have gathered, the aspect of the Psalm that grabs my attention presently is that of the green pastures. Very simple image. Being made to lie down in them suggests the best place for them to rest. The best place for them to be restored. Sometimes the imagery to me is one of tranquillity, but either way it is one of safety. It’s a safe place for restoration. It’s safe because it’s space the shepherd has deliberately chosen for rest for the sheep. It’s safe because he has made it so. 

We don’t have to worry or fret because the shepherd has ensured this is safe space. There in the wide open we are able to relax and enjoy the environment and be served right there. 

As I dwell on that image I also recognise that now the promise of green pastures is not primarily about a physical location, helpful though that can be. The promise is relational even as another shepherd invites us to come to Him if we are weary and heavy laden to find rest in Him. His presence within us as we find ourselves in Him can usher in that safety to be and rest in Him. 

This quality is so crucial in a day and age where finding that rest appears so distant. It is a quality, however, that is available if we just believe in the good shepherd who cares for His sheep. 

Not only that, but those of us who have found rest in Him get to share with others the good news of the peace and rest to be found in this good shepherd. Not only sharing the good news, but demonstrating it as the peacemakers He calls us to be. Through our Christ-centred character we too can be ambassadors of this Kingdom of Peace where there are plenty of green pastures in which people can find rest. 

Thank God for the good shepherd who makes us lie down in green Pastures. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden