Today’s Reading: Psalms 67-71
Today’s Reflection: Psalms 67:1
In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.
You’ve probably encountered the word selah as you’ve read through the Psalms. If the word made you stop and wonder what it meant in a way it was doing it’s job.
The Psalms were a songbook used in worship by Israel and the word selah indicated a pause in the singing of a song. It has been suggested that like the word amen, selah indicates agreement with the words that have come before as well as emphasizing the importance of the preceding passage. Also, the word selah is related to the Hebrew root word ‘calah’ which means to hang or to weigh. From these two ideas come the modern understanding of the word selah: it is an instruction for the worshiper to pause and carefully consider the words that have just been sung.
We generally think of the use of music in worship as having a primarily emotional appeal, but the repeated use of the word selah—it appears 71 times in 150 Psalms—shows us that there was meant to be a rational appeal as well. Pause. Consider. Reflect. Allow yourself to be affected by the words you’ve spoken. This suggests that the stirred emotions of the heart were meant to work in concert with the renewing of the mind as worshippers stopped to think about the significance of the words they were singing. And furthermore suggests that our changed hearts, submitted to God, can help lead to a change in our actions and activities as well.
This should also remind us that we are designed to be holistic and harmonious beings. The word constantly reminds us to love God with all our heart, mind and soul (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). There is meant to be harmony between the function, direction and focus of our thoughts, our feelings, and our physical being. Note: your soul is actually your physical being, as in “the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).”
Reconsider the story of David dancing before the Lord in light of this (2 Samuel 6:14). Pause, and consider that.
So don’t be afraid to bring all of your being—not just your emotions, but your mind and your body—into the worship experience. There will be many wonderful, profound and moving selah worship moments in store for you when you do.
Psalm 66:4 – “All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah.