Last week was a week of waiting. Pausing. Reflecting.
While I waited for word on the results of a medical test, I found myself in the Word even more than normal. My go-to scriptures and prayers didn’t seem to suffice. I turned to the psalms.
As I pored over Psalm 62, a word that I had often seen before seemed to leap out at me.
The researcher in me went into full investigative mode.
Selah can be found 71 times in the Bible, mostly in the psalms but also in the minor prophetic book of Habakkuk. There are varying definitions, including that of a pause in which musicians in the psalms play their instruments while the singers are silent. The Amplified Bible translates selah as: “pause, and calmly think of that.”
The New International Bible Dictionary explains that:
“The word usually occurs at a place where a very significant statement has been made, making that a good place for a break or pause.”
In the swirl of emotions that engulfed my mind and heart last week, I struggled to “pause, and calmly think about that.” Selah was a slippery concept, alas.
But what if I had viewed selah as an expression of faith, a vehicle transporting me to the very way that God would have me live through struggles?
- Is selah a gateway to more profound spiritual disciplines, such as thanksgiving, praise, prayer, and even prophecy?
- Could it be that not only spiritually, but in the daily grind, we could all benefit from dwelling for a moment on recent events, conversations, and thoughts so as to mine their depths?
- Is substituting busyness and anxiety for “selah moments” a prudent choice?
Bob Burridge wisely comments in the Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies:
“When you come across that word [selah], take a moment to consider the weight of what has just been said, and lift your thoughts to exalt our God as the sovereign and gracious Redeemer of his people.”