Psalm 136 – Enduring Love 


There is a song called, Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong. The sentiments of the song may appear rather cheesy to some, but amongst those lyrics is a sense of love that has enduring power. 

That theme of enduring power in love dominates this Psalm. The love of God described here takes on epic proportions because it is a love that has last the ages. From creation to Kingdom formation, the enduring love of God – His mercies ever extended – declares His faithfulness and commitment in every circumstance. 

This enduring love restores, it overcomes, it guides and leads through the wildernesses to lands flowing in milk and honey. It sees a people revel but never loses hope. It is not a sentiment, it is not a feeling, it’s far more than a force, this enduring love expresses the character of God Himself. 

This is not a love exclusive to a people group in a given period of history. Echoes and effects of this love can be felt throughout the world through all time. Even now this enduring love transforms lives and has the greatest power in the universe. A power that lift people up to where eagles fly on to a mountain high. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 123 – Mercy From Contempt 

The collection of Psalms would have informed you by now that there are plenty of good reasons for praise and worship. This particular Psalm gives another reason for worship and it is a tough reason to take. 

Worship from the pain of contempt. Enduring the pain of active insults and bitterness that’s experienced. It is as if the Psalmist knows what it is to go through the day being drenched in human waste poured on him from all angles. The stench of malice, the stink of contempt – it’s his strife and it’s his lot. So for relief, for mercy, for respite, he goes to the only source he knows. 

When there is the feeling of being overwhelmed, worship is not just a relief, it is the source of release to relay that which overwhelms you. As you do so in the posture that recognises the great one who cares for your needs, so there is found the reminder that He goes with you. Indeed He knows Himself what it is to face the deluge of the human waste that is sin. To face it and yet overcome it. Making a way for those who worship to likewise be empowered to face it and perhaps … 

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 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 32 – Forgiven

There is talk about needing to forgive yourself. I understand that – it can be quite something when the biggest weight of condemnation is the one you place on yourself.

Yet, forgiveness is not primarily something we should be looking to do to ourselves. First and foremost the issue of forgiveness should be seen in the light of what it means in the light of a relationship with a loving heavenly Father. Where you and I can let each other down and where we often let ourselves down, there is a great Creator who invites into a relationship with Him. In this relationship He is faithful and just, kind and compassionate and consistently never lets us down. Yet we persistently let him down, it is a default to look to please ourselves rather than acknowledge Him. What that does to any relationship can be more than damaging.

The Psalmist in this piece can relate to what it is to live in rebellion to this God and the effect that it has on us. Yet when he finally acknowledges and confesses that sin he is the first to see the relief of forgiveness that is found in God. He knows what it is to be blessed in those ways. Truly experiencing how relieving it is to know that all your sins have been dealt with. Truly seeing that the access to a right relationship with God that is hindered by sin can have that hindrance removed through confession and acknowledgement to God.

What needs to be taught to others is just how valuable that experience can be in anyone’s life.The life of anyone who thinks they have done too much to ever be considered, someone who feels that their behaviour and inclination can never be forgiven. For them to come across the expression of grace and truth in God is the greatest release and turnaround possible. To call it liberating is a massive understatement.

No, forgiving yourself has nothing on truly experiencing and embracing the forgiveness of God and that done so that you can have a right relationship with the God who desires to be known by you.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Jonah’s Journey 4 – Running against God

There is a desire among some for a story or a recounting of a life episode to have a neat and complete resolution. Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl likes boy, slight misunderstanding, great return to each other, boy and girl live happily ever after. The story of Jonah refuses to be resolved so smoothly.

The final chapter of the book goes full circle to reveal more about Jonah as well as reaffirming key attributes about God. As it does so, there remains much we can gain insight on regarding the human condition and the character of God. What’s also striking is the nature of the ongoing dialogue between the two. An ongoing dialogue that does not easily resolve itself for either party, but one that invites us to constantly run with God rather than against Him to know Him and more of ourselves as a result.

For His Name’s Sake
Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden

Sam’s 1st Epic 12 – Samuel’s Warning

But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.” (1 Samuel 12:24‭-‬25 NIV)

It must have been a very emotional occasion.

Samuel wasn’t dying. One of the reasons for this assembly was out of how the people had rejected the succession planning he had previously put into operation where his sons were ruling. He put the succession plan in place because he knew his time had come to an end where that responsibility was concerned. It was one thing to reject his plan, but there own plan proved to be something far worse than Samuel had ever considered. Be that as it was, however, this assembly was for his farewell speech. It’s a virtual retirement speech of the time.

Getting over the personal essentials first, Samuel uses that opportunity to launch a withering attack on the tendency of the people of Israel to neglect the God who continues to deliver them. Whether after Egypt or at that point in their history, Israel was in a pattern of wandering away from God, getting in trouble and calling out to God to rescue them. This particular decision to veer away from God in asking for a king like their neighbours was something even the people admitted was an evil act. Samuel does not hold back in letting the people know the error of their ways.

Yet in as much as the tone is severe and critical of the wayward nature of God’s people, there is in it and underlying it, a great longing and desire for the people to return to God. There is a plea even in giving them a king to not forget the true King, the real sovereign of the earth. The plea is there, the call to faithfulness resonates throughout this speech. Faithfulness to a loving and faithful God who still takes pleasure in the people He has called. However wayward they have been, He still desires for them to return and stay in faithful relationship with Him.

In his last major recorded speech before the king is confirmed and he decreases, Samuel urges God’s people to not forget God who has not forgotten them. Yet in the plea for faithfulness, there is also the reality check of the consequences of choices made.

This kind of summary speech is not the first of its kind in Israel’s history and sadly it wouldn’t be the last. Reading it today, it still acts as that plea and that reality check. It’s well worth heeding Samuel’s warning.

For His Name’s Sake
Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden