Psalm 116 – A Very Good Reason to Love Him

It is very difficult for me to read this Psalm. Very difficult. 

It’s difficult because to read of someone who knows what it is to be rescued and so express this great love for God reminds me of what God has rescued me from. The darkness of depression, the despair of feeling worthless, the delusion of thinking I can stumble from one crash to another and make it without help. He rescued me from a pit. He rescued me. 

I too can lift up the cup of salvation because of His goodness towards me. If that is all I can offer, I offer it wholeheartedly. As I too can live a life returning thanks to Him, as that is all I can do. I know there is nothing I could ever do to repay Him. He is not even asking for payment. A response of dedicated thanksgiving, a sacrifice of my life to that extent is more than reasonable.  

This is a profound Psalm to consider at whatever season you find yourself in. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 113 – In The Habit of Picking You Up 

Like we needed more reasons to praise God, this Psalmist makes a big deal of praising the incomparable Creator of the Universe. The reason? As great as He is, He still looks at those in lowly conditions and picks them up. 

This is more than rags to riches, this is not about turning a pauper into a multimillionaire. This is about a shepherd boy out in the middle of nowhere with no one considering him. This is about a young virgin of no repute with no one considering her. This is about the stuttering farm boy in the back of the building shuffling his feet awkwardly with no one considering him. This is about a paralysed beggar outside a temple passed by more often than not with no one considering him. This is about a girl taken into a foreign country with only her Uncle for support and no one considering her. 

It’s great news that our God sees and hears and makes radical transformation in the unlikely circumstances, because that’s just the kind of loving incomparable Creator of the Universe we serve.

It’s another reason why I love Him because He is in the habit of seeing the lowly and picking them up. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 106 – What Have We Done For God Lately?  

This Psalm plays like a complimentary piece to the previous Psalm. 

That previous Psalm gave us plenty of reasons to remember what God has done. This Psalm gives plenty of reasons to remember how we are likely to respond to what God has done and it’s not pretty. 

It would be comforting to think that the way God’s people responded back in the day was unique to them. Ah but in it we see reflections of the human condition and it’s not pretty. It is ugly. It is filthy. It is disgusting. 

How quickly we forget God’s goodness in the slightest sign of discomfort. How easy we disregard the great works of God as soon as we are comfortable and given other gods to play with. How simple it is to break our word with the God who keeps His Word. How seemingly natural it is for us to rebel against the One who has shown great kindness towards us. 

This Psalm shines a light on what we have done for God lately, and it is not pretty. 

At the same time when we are stuck or get in trouble what do we do? Go running back to Him, crying out to Him, pleading for help. Were some of us in God’s position, after a while we would be sick of the constant cycle of rebellion and repentance. We would become hardened to the desperately wicked and fickle heart of humanity. Yet this great and glorious God expresses that greatness and glory through patiently and consistently listening to the cries of His people and coming to their rescue. 

Reading a Psalm like this is all the more reason for us to respond in heart-felt gratitude and humble contrition. Reading of our God in these verses should give us cause for reflection and further repentance in the desire to cling on to Him and receive His help on the inside to reject that rebellious nature. Break the cycle of sin and live for this merciful and compassionate God, who time and again extends the invitation to know Him and be known by Him. This Psalm is another invitation to love Him who first loved you and still loves you even though what you have done for Him lately isn’t pretty.  

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 104 – God Of All Creation 

Nature documentaries usually don’t attract me. Go ahead and give me that look. 

I get the whole love of wildlife and how the animal kingdom does its thing. For some it is a riveting subject worthy of the tones of someone like David Attenborough paying careful attention to the rise and fall of that animal in that desert. It just wasn’t my bag. 

This Psalm, however, this is quite something. There’s something about it that I love not just because of the beautiful, flowing language. There’s something endearing about creation flowing out of God. Creation is intensely relational and personal. It’s not removed and abstract. It’s presented here as creation responding to Creator. 

It is a majestic piece and another reason to love God. It is a piece worth reading whilst enjoying the beauty of creation described both in the living creatures and the variety of landscapes. 

Truly the Creator is great and worthy to be praised. 

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 98 – Invitation to New Praise 

Heh. The Message version certainly has a way of putting it.

The instruction in this verse is an interesting one and one that I see overlooked in places, but is not necessarily as hard as it appears. For example the Psalmist certainly isn’t instructing us to all of a sudden turn into Lennon/McCartney and come up with the next greatest smash hit. In fact if you noticed on some of the Psalms these are words that have been put to familiar tunes for the time.

So the invitation here is not to be looking to be all original. New praise isn’t a demand to be original. It’s an instruction to see what the Lord has done in your life and put that to song. A song of praise. A song declaring the greatness of the Lord in your life.

True story: I was minding my own business at a large shopping store and while walking through a packed car pack, I came across a car weaving it’s way up and down the area looking for a vacant spot and on finding it, the car wheeled in quickly. I saw the driver leap out of the car and exclaim a brief rendition of an old pop song with her own ‘lyrics’ singing her exasperation away. It was comical for two reasons, firstly to say her singing was slightly off key would perhaps be a kindness too far. Secondly, the store was closing and soooooo …

In any case, the incident highlighted to me that we are able to express ourselves in song We have hymns both modern and ancient that can help us, yet these were all fresh at one time. These were all new. These were all one person’s (or in some cases more than one person – there’s a helpful hint) expression of truth, expression of their lives, expression of their experiences with God in good times and bad as well as experiences of the greatness of God. They were crafted out of experiences just like the one the poor driver had.

You don’t have to worry about rhyming and rhythm, you don’t have to be concerned about eloquence and vocabulary. The beauty of praise is that it will just flow from you – and the invitation is to continue that flow and express it in song. This Psalm gives a lot of reason to do that and doesn’t limit it to the human experience. The invitation is extended to creation.

Give it a go. You know some songs, you have come across some tunes before. You know what God has done for you lately – how He has worked wonders in your life. Praise Him and put it to song and there – you have sung to the Lord a new song. You don’t have to worry about recording it, you can do it in the privacy of your own head and let it out of your lips when you are safe enough. Maybe it will only be you and God that ever hears it, but it is to Him that you’re giving it, He is worth it too.

He is doing wonderful things in life, it’s worth singing a new song for that.

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