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 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 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 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 

Psalm 96 – Invitation to Splendour

It’s an interesting invitation, isn’t it. Come and enjoy something majestic, brilliant, breathtaking, outstanding, utterly remarkable, extraordinary, extremely superb in every way of which terms like beauty and splendour barely scratch the surface of that which you behold with all your senses. 

It’s interesting, because that’s not always the way praise and worship of God is pitched. Just experiencing, witnessing, observing and responding to just being in the presence of a glorious God should be something in and of itself. People cough up millions in total in visiting galleries and museums set up to fascinate and intrigue, but that is sometimes missing from our genuine appreciation of this most beautiful of Saviours. It’s missed in the drive to whip up a frenzy and ‘set the atmosphere’ to get people in exultant and ecstatic states sometimes completely missing the One who we’re supposed to be worshipping. We shouldn’t need all that pom-pom cheerleading as this Psalm highlights. You just consider Him for who He reveals Himself to be and the response isn’t contrived and forced at all. You don’t whip up the courage to compliment someone on something done well. You don’t have to ‘create the vibe’ to acknowledge something terrific. Encountering it prompts it from you automatically and the more brilliant and excellent it is the more the expression verbal and non-verbal pours out of you. 

That is what we are invited to look on in this Psalm. And we don’t need lots of money to access this experience. We don’t have to travel the length and breadth of the globe to get a glimpse. Right where you are in whatever state or condition you can experience wonders, beauty, sophistication and splendour like nothing else creation has to offer, by encountering God in the beauty of His holiness. 

What an invitation! 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden