Psalm 135 – Great God, Great Track Record

There is a chant that is sometimes used in football games that suggests that a striker of a greater quality ‘scores when he wants’. That degree of acknowledging brilliance in doing whatever he wants can also be attributed to the Creator of the Universe.

God, though, does not need to give you His CV to earn your approval.

This Psalm, however, does a great job of outlining great reasons why it’s worthwhile applying the worship that is integral to human existence in the right place.

Among the many great reasons here is to establish again the key advantage God has over all pretenders – He is living, omnipotent and glorious in engaging with His people. It’s a stinging jab to hear the Psalmist contrast this with the pretenders who may well have been crafted to have senses, but are actually senseless and those who devote worship to them will end up the same way.

The Psalmist refers to idols made of silver and gold in his era. These days the idols take on forms and shapes a bit different to those days, but nonetheless are equally senseless as objects of worship and lead to similarly senseless outcomes for those who devote time, energies and thoughts to them.

It’s worth considering the greatness of God. It’s worth looking at His greatness in creation, in His acts of salvation, in His deeds of restoration, in His works that established His people that were once not a people. Just considering His greatness and His great kindness to mankind is something that makes it all the more compelling to take on the Psalmist’s encouragement to praise Him.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Psalm 134 – The Night Watch


I appreciate scripture for what it says and what it means from the writer at the time.

This Psalm is written at a time when there was a temple and there would be priests who would serve in the temple in the night. It’s great that the Psalmist wants these servants to be encouraged in their work and worship. Beautiful to see this encouragement also ending with the call for a blessing on their efforts from the one who they are serving.

It’s all good. It’s all beautiful.

Though others may want to make a case for architectural structures being the modern equivalent of the temple and thus the same reverence for the structure as there was for the temple, there is something about the entire biblical narrative that suggests that God had something even greater in mind.

So as I think about serving in the night, I think of those who serve the living temple of God today in those night hours. Earnestly praying, counselling, making contact, being present, offering hospitality, being a light in the literal dark world. Lifestyles of worship, all in honour to the Most High God, all done in those twilight hours where others are pursuing less noble pursuits.

I trust those saints who offer such support are likewise blessed by the Creator of the universe.

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 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 100 – Why Worship? Here’s Three Good Reasons

Three reasons to worship God. 

1. For the Lord is good; 

2. His mercy is everlasting, 

3. His truth endures to all generations.
Think on these things. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 99 – For He Is Holy

I love a good refrain. A good part in a song that keeps us on track with the song’s basic message. Get a good line and repeat it and it sinks in. 

No prizes for guessing which line grabbed me in this Psalm. I love the escalation of the instruction. Verse 3 – praise His name because He is holy. Verse 5 – worship at His footstool because He is holy. Verse 9 – worship at His holy mountain because He is holy. Love it, love it, love it. It reaffirms and reinforces a great reason to worship. 

The reference to God being holy reminds me of a brilliant video explaining the concept as put together by the brilliant Bible Project. It’s worth checking for your own benefit and in the light of it see why the Psalmist’s instructions is so pivotal to our daily living. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 97 – Invitation to Admire the Supreme

It’s seen in certain entertainment extravaganzas. The strobe lighting, the smoky atmosphere, the blaring music, the atmosphere is set and as the dancers and backing singers take their place the lights dim, music softens and then builds to a huge noise hyping up the crowd as the main attraction takes to the stage to the delirium of the adoring masses who have come to see their idol perform. The entrance is magnificent, the sound of the crowd is deafening, the adulation is overwhelming. 

For a person who is in essence just another human being, susceptible to flaws and failings, destined for death just like everyone else. Energy, passion, commitment and devotion to flesh and blood that will fail and in the larger scheme of things holds no power other than that which the worshipper offers. The gift is magnified, the channel of the gift is idolised but the Giver of the gift barely gets due acknowledgement. Whenever He is referred to it is so casually mentioned in passing that it is an afterthought. 

The Psalmist here, however, gets the true vision. He sees all creation giving due praise and fanfare. In the light of the Supreme, the Psalmist encourages those with Him to stick with Him because unlike idols, the one true living God will actively deal with those that opposed Him. That is why it makes sense to get on the right side. Not out of obligation or with selfish motives. From a true heart in the light of ongoing revelation of God, grow in knowing Him. 

Respond appropriately to the invitation to engage with the Supreme rules over all. It’s an invitation worth treasuring and acting on.  

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden