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 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 108 – Ways to Win the Warfare

We were playing a board game. I wasn’t doing so well, but being the peace loving and peace making sort that I am, I merely proclaimed that I would vanquish them all anyway because God was on my side. Obviously in the light of such bold proclamations I finished up in last place. 

The Bible has violence and has a stream of military and conflict language throughout. It is unavoidable. The man after God’s own heart was a man marked by military exploits. It’s no surprise then that there’s a Psalm that goes from the place of praise to the place of conflict. Unsurprisingly, some will jump on this as corroboration for a bloodthirsty God. Others will cling to this as reason to claim is on their side in their own conflict – and it does not have to be military at all. 

What’s often missing in these thoughts and proclamation is the relationship that underpins everything. Hearing what God has to say on a matter is pivotal in this Psalm. Knowing this Word in the context of His plans for His people I’d critical. Understanding His heart in these affairs is the engine driving the action. 

By the time we reach the exultant climax of the piece, this is not reason for us to hope that God will get rid of a boss we don’t like or help us in warfare against another country. This is about what God wants triumphing over all who oppose it. That should lead us to wonder what God really wants. That should prompt us to explore a relationship with Him to really know Him, love Him for His beauty, wonder, holiness and righteousness. 

That way we  can flow from the place of praise to the purpose He has for us to see His Kingdom come and will done on earth as it is in heaven. A purpose that sees His enemies conquered even as they were on the cross, in the grave, in the empty tomb and in an exalted Saviour at the right hand of the Father. 

It will also stop us from thinking it will give us the win in a board game. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 107 – Stories of the Redeemed

My friend asked me if I was going to say anything, I shook my head. Eventually he got up and shared an aspect of his testimony and he simply gave thanks for being redeemed. It had a powerful impact on the listeners. It had a powerful impact on me. He knew where he had been and how bad things were and how amazing it was for God to redeem Him from that by His love. He knew God for himself, he had a story of the Redeemed. 

This Psalm shares four other stories of the Redeemed. Whether wanderers looking for a city to settle in, or those whose decisions actively placed them in darkness, or those foolish and sickened by their rebellion or those on the season about to be overwhelmed by the storms of their voyage – these all knew what it was to be in peril, what it was to cry out to God and what it was for God to hear and rescue them. 

These stories are to inspire us to know we have a story to share. How we were sinking in sin, far from the peaceful shore. How our active rebellion left us in a spiralling cycle of addiction and pain. How we were looking for something to satisfy in so many different areas and things and came up short in all of them. In those situations, some cataclysmic, some internal as we die in quiet agony. Whatever the situation, we have a story to share – a real story – of God showing up and showing out reversing the fortunes of the afflicted and shutting up the wicked. 

We have a story to share in word or song. In conversation and in life. A story of giving thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 103 – Don’t Forget All His Benefits

The Psalmist knows the Lord is good. You don’t have to tell him twice. In fact he will help you out with one or two (or twenty) benefits we get from the character and actions of the Lord. 

Check those benefits from verse 3 to 19. You can write a book on each individual benefit and still not do justice to the wonder that is our God. Whether it is His outstanding steadfast love, His righteousness, His mercy, His forgiveness, His compassion, His self-revelation, healing our diseases, redeeming us from the pit … 

Books and books could be written on each of them, but saving us the hassle, the Psalmist suggests we bless the Lord with all our being. In the light of the benefits we receive, it’s a reasonable response. Even as those benefits are not one offs, but reflect His character ongoing, so our expression of gratitude is an invitation to declare that with our entire being for as long as we live. 

That’s a reasonable request when we take a little time to look and reflect on just how good our God is. Just when you think He’s good, He shows He is even better than that. 

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