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 

Advertisements

Psalm 53 – Relief From Relentless Rebellion 

I know there is a concept known as atheism. I am very much aware of it. I just don’t think they really mean what they purport. It’s a bizarre movement that seeks to counter the existence of a being that would be beyond their conceptualising anyway. It’s like a turkey not believing in Christmas dinner – you can reject it all you like, but it’s inevitable. 

Where I think atheism would really be on a more honest plain would be rather than to dispute the existence of God, just blatantly state that they reject Him. That would make a lot more sense. 

This definition of atheism – not so much God does not exist, more a case of saying No to God is something rampant in our world. Indeed our very condition at birth was that way inclined. It’s a condition the Psalmist was very familiar with throughout the bleak observations noted in this Psalm. 

Be in no doubt, a world that rejects God is not a pleasant one to live in. For with the absence of the divine who defines we are left to do things for ourselves and in as much as we have the capacity to do beneficial acts, these are more than counteracted by that innate ability to do the grotesque, the abysmal, the dire, the depraved. That is the dark world outlined by the Psalmist which is not a strange one to modern readers. 

Making the last verse all the more poignant, not for the sake of escapism, but for the cry for righteousness to rule. To know that whatever the fool says in his heart, the truth remains there is a Sovereign who rules in the affairs of man and His righteous rule seen throughout time and epitomised in the life of Jesus Christ will one day wipe the fools and their foolishness off the earth and replace it with the peace and justice that comes from the God who cares for those He created. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Sam’s 2nd Epic 20 – Rebellion Squashed

One of Joab’s men stood beside Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” (2 Samuel 20:11 NIV)

The United Tribes of Israel was a fragile reality after Absalom’s efforts. Even with David’s conciliatory actions, it only took one mischief maker called Sheba to upset it again by seizing on a dispute between Judah and Israel to call for another rebellion against David.

David may have been conciliatory, but his experience as a warrior gave him enough nous to see that Sheba could not be tolerated like Absalom. His endeavour to quell the rebellion was supposed to be lead by his General Amasa. Enter Joab, once more, to complete his hattrick of treacherous assassinations. As Amasa took longer than he should have to gather the troops, David sent Abishai to address the rebellion, deliberately overlooking Joab. When they came across Amasa, Joab tricked him with a greeting that he used to plunge a fatal stab into Amasa’s stomach. That meant Joab had illicitly killed Abner, Absalom and Amasa – but still maintained a leading position in David’s army.

On the positive side, Joab took on Sheba with ruthlessness up to the point where Sheba hid in Abel Beth Maakah. The siege of that place lead to a remarkable conversation with a wise woman there who appealed to Joab on behalf of the place. Her concern for the city lead her to counsel the people to give Joab what he wanted to stop the siege and in doing so quashing the rebellion once and for all as Sheba’s head was thrown out of the city.

So what is there to see and learn here? Rebellion against righteous rule should not come as a surprise, but should not be condoned or tolerated. There are people who think they are for you, but whose acts of insubordination should not be forgotten – David would not forget Joab’s actions of insubordination. Those who desire righteousness should be a part of what it takes to root out unrighteousness for the sake of the whole.

God, in His wisdom, allows us to see episodes in the life of His people to learn from them so we can be wise in His eyes, not our own.

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