Selah. This is a word that is mentioned 74 times in the bible but can be found in only two books of the Bible: Psalms (71) and Habakkuk (3). It’s a word that holds some mystery within it because no one knows the exact meaning of the word. It makes me think of Ro1 Corinthians 13:12 when Paul said,
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
Its hidden meaning makes it that much more beautiful to me; its mystery creating a deepening desire to come near. Though we do not yet understand its full meaning, God ordained it to be apart of His word, mystery meaning and all. No word in the Bible is there without importance. So it ought to be cherished and attempted to be understood.
According to gotquestions.org, Selah could possibly mean a few different things. One could be from the Hebrew word calah which means “to hang” or “to measure or weigh in the balances.” Another could possibly come from the combination of two Hebrew words, s_lah, which means to praise or s_lal, which means to lift up. Another could be that it simply means to pause or to take a breath that comes from the Hebrew word salah. But the beauty of this word intensifies when these definitions are all combined into one definition creating one incredible image of what it could mean. Placing them together causes it to mean, to pause, praise, and reflectively think about what has been said, done, and reflect on who God is. Finding this word in the Bible has become such a high point for me. It causes me to stop and reflect heavily on what I just read. It’s like the bible’s own pause and reflection section to make sure we really take in and understand what we are reading.
Selah is found in one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, Psalm 3. This chapter is only eight verses, but this word is present three times within it. Psalms 3 is power-packed with so much and when you know its history, the text becomes that much richer (the back story is found in 2 Samuel 15-18). David is on the run, in fear for his life because of his son Absalom. He is so grieved within. He could have responded to this situation in any kind of way, but instead of handling things his way, he cries out to God. With each selah we read, we see his strength and faith in God increasing rise.
1 O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
5 I lay down and slept, I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah
Have you have reflected like this before? Have you ever, during a frustrating or painful experience, and just paused to call out to God? Have you ever just paused in the midst of a stressful moment or day and breathed and paused with the intentionality to invite Christ into the middle of it? Or have you ever just paused and breathed in the goodness of God all around you? Pausing to thank God for the ability to breathe, for the ability to speak, for the ability to be able to feel the breeze of the day on your skin; the ability to hear the birds chirp, or the ability to be able to feel the ground beneath your feet or to see the trees move, or the colors of the sky? Oh, how wonderful it is to pause and really let the goodness of God in. Pausing in the midst of busyness or sorrow or gladness gives us the opportunity to invite God’s presence into our day and His uncompromising perspective to permeate the depths of our hearts.
There is something about pausing and just taking a deep breath and centering yourself. But there is something so much richer when you pause, breathe, and reflect on the goodness of God. To take a moment in time to pause and close the gap of distance that the day has set between us and Him. It sets the stage for a moment of intimate fellowship with our Creator, our Father, our Friend. Taking these moments throughout the day rejuvenates us, renews us, restores us, empowers us; it brings hope into our hearts and builds faith within us. It causes us to stop looking around at what we can see and sets our eyes back on the God we cannot see, the One who created heaven and earth. The One who is greater than all that we see and experience. The One who is fully in control. If you have never taken a Selah moment, take one today; take one now! Thank You, Lord, for the opportunity to pause and release; to be still and to receive!
Below is a video that I absolutely love; it leads us through a moment of selah in such a great way. I hope you enjoy this moment of worship and join in as we are taken on an adventure through the serene terrain of the pause of Selah. Enjoy.
I am praying for you. Blessings.