There is a distinct word embedded in some of the Book of Psalms that has tremendous importance in living the Kingdom life. Oftentimes, we miss the word or quickly ignore it just because it’s written in Hebrew. This word is Selah. This word was mentioned 71 times in the book. We will dive into the meaning of this word and try to understand its significance not just in Hebraic musical arrangements and composition but its metaphorical significance in life in general. May the Holy Spirit open up our eyes to see the beauty and importance of moments of selah in our lives.
Through the years the exact meaning of the word selah remains a mystery. Scholars vary in their definition and description of it and here are some of the interpretations :
- To “lift up and to exalt” : In Hebrew Lexicon, the word has been defined as “to lift up and to exalt.” Obviously, this definition clearly put God as the focal point and the center of our praise and worship. Above all else He is the one we lift up and exalt in all seasons of our lives.
- “Pause – intermission” : Some scholars argue that the word denotes an intermission, a pause or silence. In musical arrangement this would be the part that the voices are silent as the instruments express and highlight the mood and the tone of the song.
- “Pause – preparation” : Selah could also be a moment of transition from one paragraph to the next. Therefore, in both meanings, selah is a moment of pause and a preparation for the next part of the song.
- “Pause – ponder” : Lastly, selah would mean to pause for the purpose of pondering what was just said. It is similar to the emphasis of ‘amen’ in our prayers. I see this as a profound meaning to grasp. Selah is a moment of recognition and agreement to Who God said He is and what He has promised as revealed through His Word and displayed in His mighty deeds.
We hope to explore the facets of the word selah in the light of soaking in the Presence of God. May the Holy Spirit take us deep into His Presence as we learn to pause and to position ourselves to be in awe and wonder of Who God is.