by Aszia Pearson
“Selah” is a bit of a mystery phrase, but most scholars take it to mean “a pause,” a rest, silence, in the midst of select psalms and songs in the Bible. The music continues, but the singer pauses at the instruction: Selah. It’s found in 39 psalms of varying contexts; in fear and in battle, in praise and exaltation, in considering what He has done for us and in considering the majesty of His creation… selah.
Whether we know the exact meaning of the word or not, it certainly causes us to reflect. Do we believe in the value of pauses and rest? If you’re like me, then the answer is theoretically yes! but functionally, no.
You feel it. It’s back-to-school season (whether you or anyone in your household is heading back to school or not). Calendars are filling up, and there is a change in the air (if you live in a warmer climate, unfortunately I’m not talking about cooler weather).
So how do we pause in the hustle and bustle and mad chaos that is August?
There’s the obvious: put the phone down and take a tech sabbath. And then there are other small moments we can look for in our days… maybe next time you drive, turn the music off and be silent and still. You could take a walk around your block, or get in bed just five minutes earlier to pray.
How will you find selah in the shuffle?
Abraham Heschel says of the Sabbath (another instruction to God’s people to rest), “the world has already been created and will survive without the help of man.” For as much control as we think we have (or would like to have), we’re really not the ones in charge. We can rest. And we’re in really, really good hands.
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah.” —Psalm 68:19