As we prepare for the Christmas season, let’s take our own Selah and reflect on Christ.
As we come to this Christmas season and think on the reason for it, we often times read the story of Christ’s coming to man out of Luke or Matthew. Today, I’d like to actually look at the Christmas story from the “Book of Songs”, specifically Psalm 89. As we read through the first 4 verses, we see the promise of a new King. Although it initially points to King David, we can read into it and see that it is pointing to an even greater King, and that is Jesus – The Messiah. But notice the break at the end of those 4 verses. The word Selah (Pronounced See-Luh) is put in between the next set – or stanza – of verses! I’d like to take a moment or two (if you will) and think about what that word means and how it is so applicable today in this season.
The Hebrew word “Selah” is thought to be a musical notation and has no exact meaning. It was used 74 times in the Old Testament by different authors of the songs. (71 times within 39 Psalms and 3 times in the book of Habakkuk) Scholars think that the word actually has 3 meanings.
One definition is that it could mean a musical crescendo. As all 5 books and 150 chapters are all songs, emphasis for an increase or decrease in volume would make sense.
Another meaning could be that it indicates a musical interlude. As a musician, I enjoy playing and listening to musical interludes in a song. It gives the listener a chance to rest momentarily while the interlude or instrumental is played. It also gives the musician the opportunity to express themselves as to see their interpretation of the song. I’ll bet King David was excellent at it too!!
The third meaning though could mean “Pause”. I liken it to a phrase that a pastor friend of mine once said: “Stop, Look and Listen”!
If we look back at those first 4 verses and most notably 3-4, we see a breaking point in the song.
1 I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
2 For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”
3 You have said, “I have made my covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:
4 ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’ ”
Selah at this point could mean to the singers: “Think about what you just sang or spoke. Take this moment to reflect about how God is going to be faithful to His word! Think about the promise of the Messiah to come! Listen to what You are singing (reading) for the scriptures say that the Messiah is coming. Be alert for Him, because God’s word will always be fulfilled “
Here we are in 2020, it’s been a long hard year in many ways to many people. We have been scarred and affected by Covid-19 and all the associated issues with it. However, if we take our own “Selah” we can reflect and remember that:
• Jesus, the little baby from Bethlehem, is the Messiah promised as the one who would come from God to save sinful man.
• He grew up sinless, was tempted in every way and never sinned
• He was crucified for our sins then raised up on the 3rd day!
• He is coming again
• Surely He is greater than all our problems!
• Surely He can be trusted
• Surely He will lead us through it all.
But it starts with our believing and trusting in Him. (Rom 10:9-13)
For me, my “Selah” starts with “stopping, looking and listening”; Stopping the hustle and bustle of life, looking for what He is saying in His word, and thanking Him. Listening to Him, trusting Him, believing and waiting for Him to deliver me for His sake and praise. To Him be all the praise and glory and honor forever! Amen