Friday, September 23, 2016

SELAH Reflections

My next book has undergone some tweaking as to title and theme. This is a sneak preview to give my blog viewers a heads up on what is forthcoming. 

The title is now SELAH REFLECTIONS: Press the PAUSE Button.

The contents is a compilation of “the best of” my blog topics for the past two years—those on which my blog viewers commented most and found the most meaningful in their own lives.

To edit them into print version still takes considerable time and focus. My projected time line? I'm working toward having the book off the press and released before the end of this year. 

I believe God would have me prepare it to go directly into a book-in-print rather than, as I initially thought, to offer it temporarily as an e-book because it would cost less to produce. I'm making this decision by faith whether I have funds in hand or not. I'm doing so at my viewers' urgings that it be available at least in a limited edition paperback for the average reader who seems to prefer reading a book in hand. It will still be available in tandem as an e-book.

I had a delightful time exploring the “Selah” factor as a carryover from Davidic psalmody to apply to what I am offering my readers in this book. The fruits of my research on that curious word follow:

SELAH [see-luh, sel-uh] seems to be a mystery word in the Hebrew language. Its exact meaning is obscure. Even noted biblical scholars admit to only guessing how it was used in the context of the Psalms at the time of their writing.

Selah occurs 71 times in the Psalms and 3 times in the book of Habakkuk. Some believe it might have been a musical term since many of the Psalms were sung to the accompaniment of instruments. Most versions of the Bible do not even attempt to translate selah but simply transliterate the word straight from the Hebrew. Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter 3 inspires the reader to pause and praise God for His mercy, power, sustaining grace, and sufficiency.

An alternative meaning might be that selah is a musician's notation, perhaps indicating a pause to take a breath, perhaps lifting one's hands in worship. It might signify a rest to the singers and/or instrumentalists who performed the psalms, or perhaps an instruction to sing a cappella or let the instruments play alone. The pause could also have been to praise the One about whom the song was speaking, perhaps even lifting hands in worship. We'll really have to wait and find out in Heaven when the Choirs on High will sing the Psalms as they were originally written!

Perhaps the best way to think of selah is a combination of all the following meanings: pause, be silent, think about, ponder over, meditate on - then put into action. When reading Scripture and spiritual writings, think about what you just read, roll it over in your mind and spirit. 
For example in Psalm 44:7-8 when we read and think over what God has done, pause, think about what the words say. We are exhorted to boast on Him all day and praise His name. When we put this into action (talk about what He has done) for us – and praise Him, then we will see the result in our own lives. In short, pause, meditate and practice. 
The paraphrased Amplified Bible adds “pause and calmly think about that” to each verse where selah appears. When we see the word selah in a psalm, we should pause to carefully weigh the meaning of what we have just read or heard, lifting up our hearts in praise to God for His great truths. “All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name. Selah!” (Psalm 66:4) It is often a sort of substitute for Amen, so be it. A forever term. 
The meaning I use in this book combines the several similar concepts: being silent, pausing and praising God, calmly thinking about that, weighing the meaning of what you have just read, rolling it over in your mind and spirit, and putting into action what was said: go practice it now.
The short pieces of thought-reflections that I have written in this book are not Holy Writ nor inspired in the sense of Scripture, of course. But I do offer them as something to Selah, PAUSE and think about, to glean whatever Christian truth they may reveal. I hope some of them may qualify for the “whatever things are true ….[and the rest of the whatevers Saint Paul listed]....if there is anything worthy of praise, [pause] and let your mind dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Putting it all together, I'm applying selah in the sense of accentuating the importance of what I'm sharing with my readers: to “press the PAUSE button” of our busy lives, collect our scattered thoughts, and be silent. Allow what is written to impress the reader in whatever ways the Holy Spirit is working in his or her life.


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