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 

Psalm 58 – O God,  Deal With The Wicked

Psalm 58 ain’t easy reading. It’s gritty reading.

It’s not one of those we see rushed off to become a Hillsong classic. I can’t imagine Darlene Zschech rushing to sing …

Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime, like the stillborn child who never sees the sun. (Psalms 58:8 ESV)

I  don’t think we can expect Israel Houghton to pop up with a song with the lyric …

O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord ! (Psalms 58:6 ESV) 

But there it is in the Holy Word. What do we do with it? Other than ignore it as apparently appears to be the thing? 

Well, for me, the first thing to do is accept it. The Psalmist was inspired to put it together, there was agreement it should be in this collection of Psalms, so it’s not clever or fair to overlook it. It’s also worth noting, these are lyrics to song, creatively conveying truth. It’s there where the journey can begin. 

Reading the Psalm is a guttural outcry for justice against the wicked. Graphic and brutal though that desire is, it none the less comes from a place of desperately desiring righteous rule to win out against the examples of monstrosities committed in the world. The Psalmist seeks justice and knows where to go for it. 

The quest for justice and the resolution of evil isn’t something expressed just in the Psalms. The entire Bible plays out the understanding of the good and right deriving from God and His rule in ultimately seeing off the wicked and evil in the world. In the meantime it’s for us to have the honesty and bravery to join that quest for righteousness which from time to time might require us speaking out against unrighteousness and evil when we see it, looking to the God who judges to do right by His creation. 

Maybe it is time we considered engaging with God more honestly on such issues than the lighter, fluffier approaches we may from time to time prefer. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 37 – Don’t Worry About A Thing

They look to be prospering. They get high positions and wield the power like they are to rule forever. The poor and needy look to be the first to suffer. 

It’s unfair. It’s not right. It’s upsetting. It’s aggravating. 

No wonder we are prone to fret, get anxious, worry and that leads to taking matters into our own hands. Railing against the wrong in a manner that only exacerbates the wrong. Thinking we can do better and only making matters worse. 

Trust in God can be hard when injustice appears so rife, but it remains the best course of action. It is not inaction or being passive. It is actively leaning and resting in the God of Justice and learning to be and do good. That way we see things from His perspective and see our way through challenging times. 

Only from that reassurance and trust can we learn to take the good advice: don’t worry about a  thing, because every little thing is going to be alright. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden