Echoes From the Campfire

A man…should be like iron, not steel.  If steel is heated too much it become brittle and it will break, while iron has great strength.  Yet it can be shaped and changed by the proper hammering and the right amount of heat.  A good man is like that.”
                 –Louis L’Amour  (The Iron Marshal)

     “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
                 –Proverbs 27:17 (HCSB)
I took a break in our study of the Psalms because of Memorial Day.  Today, I want to call your attention to a term used several times–“Selah.”  This word is used seventy-four times in the Bible, with seventy-one of those times in the book of Psalms.  The other three instances are in the book of Habakkuk.
     Look at the following verses, don’t just ponder, but deeply contemplate (HCSB is used).

          “I cry aloud to the LORD, and He answers me from His holy mountain.  Selah”  –Psalm 3:4

          “Who is He, this King of glory?  The LORD of Hosts, He is the King of glory.  Selah”  –Psalm 24:10

          “You, indeed, have made my days short in length, and my life span as nothing in Your sight.  Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor.  Selah”  –Psalm 39:5

          “LORD God of Hosts, You are the God of Israel, rise up to punish all the nations; do not show grace to any wicked traitors.  Selah”  –Psalm 59:5

          “I spread out my hands to You; I am like parched land before You.  Selah”  –Psalm 143:6

For years I was told and thought that this word was similar to the term “Amen” or “so be it.”  And it could well be, for no one knows exactly what it means.  It seems to be an interlude of some sort since the Psalms were sung.  A time when the music would stop and individuals would pray and inventory their lives in regard to the words.
     Some believe that the word means “Forever,” but whatever the meaning it is a term of exhortation and a term used meaning to pause and think.  The editors of the HCSB state this in regard to “Selah”.
         1)  a musical notation
         2)  a pause for silence
         3)  a signal for worshipers to fall prostrate on the ground
         4)  a term for the worshipers to call out
         5)  a word meaning forever

For sure it is a pause.  A time when there needs to be reflection and contemplation.  Perhaps it would be well if we took time to look at our own lives, as most likely David did when he was writing.  I like what William Peterson says, “We all need interludes in our life.  We need to let the music go on without us.  We need to take breaks from the routine in order to meditate on what God has for us this day.”
     Go back and read the Psalms above, stop and reflect and contemplate on what is being said, then shout out, “Forever!”, or “Amen!”, or “Wow, think of that!”.  It is so hard for us to take in the majesty and greatness of God in His attributes.  We can’t possibly take in the fullness of the universe, and God is so much larger than that.  No wonder they just stopped for an “interlude” and either bowed and whispered “Selah” or gave a hardy shout, “SELAH!”

          “Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what thou art,
           I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart… .
           Yes, I rest in thee, Lord Jesus, for I know what grace is thine.
           And I trust in what you’ve promised, and have made it mine.”
                      –Jean S. Pigott