Friday, May 12, 2023

Selah: Hitting the Pause Button in Life

When Becky and I lived in Basel, we noticed that the believers there had a set prayer at meal time:

Segne, Vater, diese Speise, uns zur Kraft, and Dir zum preise. Mir danke Dir daf├╝r. Amen. 

It never changed. On the other hand, we Americans, who tend to pray spontaneously, would often go on and on, so long in fact that when we opened our eyes the gravy had a film on it. 

The point, of course, is that we stopped. We paused. We took a minute (or two, or three) to give God thanks before we grabbed a piece of chicken. How seldom do I see this today, even here in the Bible Belt. People don't seem to pray in public as much as they used to before they eat. Why, even my dog thanks me when I feed him.

Perhaps we need to hit the pause button more often in life. That's why we find the word "Selah" in certain Psalms. The writer is saying, "Don't hurry through this. Think about what I just said. If you don't, you might miss something of real importance."

In the first century, when you read the Greek New Testament, you were automatically forced to slow down. 

SENTENCESINGREEKDIDNOTCONTAINSPACESBETWEENWORDS. 

This made you pause and linger in the text. That's always a good thing when we study the Scriptures.

Today I hit the pause button to remember the birthday of someone who was very precious to me. She was born in Dallas, Texas, on this day 70 years ago. Last night I spoke with her mother in Dallas, Betty Lapsley. She's 92 years young. As she recounted the birth of her eldest daughter, I could tell it was quite an unforgettable experience. Becky was 3 weeks late. Her mother spent 36 hours in labor. Becky weighed a whopping 9 pounds at birth. Mom laughed aloud when she recalled that day. I shed a tear of joy.


You don't hurry the deep things of life. You don't rush through the reading of God's love letter to you, the Bible. You read, and then you reflect. You take time to think about what you're reading. Selah means reflection or meditation and is vital to understanding and applying God's word.

Don't rush it. Zoom in, then out. Relax and enjoy the experience. Be patient with the text -- and with yourself. You are in it for the long haul.