Selah, Pause & Praise
Our lives tend to ramble from one crazy thing to another in quick motion. Our pockets buzz with Twitter, Instagram, texting and of course Facebook. All the while #hashtagging each moment of each day. Our lives—on the go.
I have one word, Selah.
“But Thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory and the lifter up of mine head.
I cried unto the LORD with my voice and He heard me out of His holy hill.
Selah” – King David, Psalm 3:3-4
Selah is used seventy-four times in the Bible. All but three are in the Psalms, the others are in the Prayer of Habakkuk (3:3,9,13). The purest meaning of the word really is uncertain. A common thread however conveys Selah to be rendered from two Hebrew words: salah —to pause. The other, salal, meaning to praise.
Scholars creatively speculate: Selah, due to its poetic usage in the Psalms can refer to a musical or worshipful note indicating a transition. “Here, take a breath, here” (before moving on). It can be a crescendo (the high point in the gradual increase of intensity). Or it can be a musical interlude; a pause designed to disrupt or to draw attention (may I offer) draw attention in the pause. Pause leading to rest and reflect on the preceding words. Meditating on the depth of insight.
The Psalm above was written when David was being pursued by his “seeking the throne for his own” son, Absalom. He opens the Psalm with, “O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying, “God will not deliver him.” Selah.” Can you hear the earnest tone, the anguish of heart? Verse 3: “BUT YOU are my shield around me, O LORD, YOU bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill. Selah” (emphasis mine).
How many of us need to gracefully transition from one circumstance to another? Selah. Perhaps take note and appreciate the high point. Selah. When was the last time we stood still and took a breather, a serious breather —we paused and praised? Selah. When was the last time we rested and truly became aware of Who God is and what He is doing?
But You, O LORD. Selah.
An amazingly beautiful word. May we too find selah among the poetry of our lives. Pause and praise.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).