Psalm 137 – When You Are Where You Don’t Belong


Mocked by captors. Told to perform like you used to perform at home. Ridiculed because the once glorious nation has been brought to its knees and the city with the symbol of your allegiance to the God who delivered you is left in smithereens. How can you sing indeed. 

Much weeping is indeed the right response. You remember where you were and where you are now. It’s not where you belong. Meanwhile those who captured you laugh you to scorn. “Where is your God now?” they gloat. So much for the conqueror of the Egyptians. So much for the one who defeated the Philistines. Where is He now? 

Yet even in the weeping of Babylon, there is a connection to that same God who has not forsaken the people in exile. Those who mock today will weep tomorrow as those who weep in the night find joy in the morning. They find the joy because they know even in exile they know where they belong and to Whom they belong. 

That’s why it’s important to remember where you belong. They may mock you now, but never forget where you belong. The city of God, the place where He dwells, is where you belong. The place of His presence is your home. There is the hope that as a pilgrim and a stranger making your way through, you are always on your way home where you belong, to Whom you belong. 

We can find home in Him and until we’re wholly His, we’re waiting and sometimes weeping, but there is the expectation. The expectation that one day  …

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

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Psalm 105 – What Has God Done For Me Lately? 

What things is it good to know about God? If I was introducing someone who was interested to find out more about God, I would point out that among the great things about Him is that He is good and He keeps His promises. 

This Psalm looks long at first, but when you consider it as an overview, it’s not that long. In fact, seeing it for what it presents itself to be it’s over too soon. In it, however, we are given the privilege of the overview of the history of a people. That history is one of a relationship from God to a man. How that relationship extends to a people. How that relationship establishes a people in a land. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 78 – The Longsuffering God 

Exasperated. Sometimes this word is the most appropriate for interactions with children. To be fair, I can imagine my parents may have expressed a similar emotion when considering their children. It’s particularly annoying when children fail to acknowledge and remember the level of sacrifice that it has taken to provide the standard of living they enjoy. Quick to grumble about not getting their own way, they are not as quick to remember not just getting their way, but escaping stronger reprimands for wrongdoing they committed. Just when you think they are getting it, they will pop up with another episode of a strop on because a sibling did something inconvenient to them or their parent didn’t allow them to get what they wanted. 

This Psalm is a long and tragic outline of how like a Father, God looked after His people. So many great acts done for them. Yet like that stroppy child, His people refused to acknowledge and remember all the good things that was done for them. Flagrant in their ignorance they would grumble against God and constantly put Him to the test. That degree of unruly behaviour lead to them reaping the consequences in some cases very heavy consequences. 

Yet time after time God would show mercy to them and not treat them as their sins merited. It doesn’t negate from His just character, it highlights how amazing His love is. It also shows what a good God He is to even go as far as to provide a good shepherd to shepherd the people with integrity and skill. 

Almost like another set of people could do with a Good Shepherd to keep us in line ever remembering His goodness and kindness to us and when we mess up, returning to Him in contrition. Ever grateful for the patient and long-suffering God. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Something About Joshua

There are few things more worthwhile than reading and growing in understanding the Bible.

Of late I’ve recognised it can be easy to get caught up with other material on related topics without returning to the source. Yet there is a joy in returning to what the Bible depicts. There’s one book in particular that has perked my interest. That, as the title of this blog has blatantly stated, is the book of Joshua.

Before Joshua I was enraptured with looking at books like Ephesians, 1 and 2 Kings, the gospel according to John and Acts. Those books are really fascinating. When I got back to considering Joshua on someone’s recommendation I came across something equally as fascinating. A person and a people. A promise and a presence. It was so intriguing seeing the journey of this people in getting what had been promised and realising there was more to the promise than just arriving and receiving. It was of great interest to note that for all that was being done, the advances and progress was all attributed to God. I love how the book of Acts, for example, is really about what Jesus does through His people. Joshua is exactly the same thing – what God does through his people. Just as much as there is resistance in realising the promise in Acts, so there is massive resistance in realising the promise in Joshua.

There is the way the people get duped, there is the questions to be asked about what it was for the people of Israel to possess the promise. There’s also the end speech by Joshua. Reflecting a character who acts as a model of manhood that I can learn a lot from. his life is something I can learn of and how he handled the the transition from Moses in the desert to the people in the Promised Land says much about leading people through change. Something I am learning about quite a lot about in life.

It’s why I find the book something very much worth giving a go.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

The Kings II 25 – Breakdown 

He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. (2 Kings 25:9‭-‬10 NIV)

The rebellion of Zedekiah was the final act of a monarch in any part of what was the land of Israel. The response of Nebuchadnezzar was brutal. Not only was the king and the lineage crushed, the city of David was also routed.

Among the clear signs of the crushing of the city was the demolition of the walls of Jerusalem – leaving the once impregnable centre of God’s people open, vulnerable and bereft of protection. The sign of the monarchy in terms of the palace was also demolished. Of all the buildings to be demolished the most significant was the temple of the Lord. Hundreds of years earlier when the people had again been unfaithful to the Lord, He handed them over to defeat by the Philistines and the ark of the covenant was taken. At that time the people mourned at how the glory had departed Israel. Now it was not just the glory that departed. No king, no viable city, no palace and no temple – no way of recognising what was once a significant presence of God in the world.

The exile of the people was not the end of God’s story with His people, but it was a certain end to the age of the Kings.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

 C. L. J. Dryden

The Kings II 17 – The Fall of Israel 

It is very difficult reading the 17th chapter of 2 Kings without filling up with tears of sorrow at the tragedy of the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel. 

It’s not as though God hadn’t warned them. He had done so on numerous occasions through various prophets. Yet their persistence in rejecting God lead to inevitable consequences. The summary of their decay and decline to the point of being taken away by the Assyrians is tremendously sad. Not only rejecting God, but actively despising all He had done for them but blatantly following idols. Completely neglecting the Lord that had brought them out of slavery on Egypt. 

It is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking to see active rebellion against a compassionate Saviour. 

Their exile left the land to be resettled by an assortment of peoples bringing their own idols with them. Despite the reintroduction of Yahweh worship, it was always mixed in with those other gods as though He is one among others. That only reinforced the very sin that made the people so repugnant to God. That degree of mixing and compromising continually diluted the place the one true God should have in the land He had given to the people He delivered. 

Reading it is a very sad experience seeing the extent to which sin and idolatry had lead God’s people. It acts as a warning to us today that God does not want mixed worship. He doesn’t require one day worshippers who then revert to idol worship in the rest of the week. He Who has brought us out of slavery to sin requires wholehearted worship of Him alone, not adopting the practices and customs of idol worship around us. He still desires that from His people today. He still requires us to turn to Him and remain devoted to Him. 

The alternative is to worship worthless idols and become ourselves worthless. 

Dear God, help us. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden