There is one word in scripture that can make you stop and think, waiting upon revelation, like the word Selah. In fact its very definition is a stop and think. David uses it more often in the Psalms than we can truly count. Perhaps the reason is that David was wanting people to grasp the revelation that he was recieving more than finding lyrics to the next worship song! I have no problem with writing music based on the words written by David, but I also think that we miss the truth for the lyrical content (sort of like \”the forest for the trees\” stigma).
Take Psalm 9 as an example of stop and think moments. Twice in the Psalm (vs. 16 & 20), David ends a stanza with Selah. Have you ever just stopped and pondered the truths he was revealing? I know that I haven\’t necessarily done that in all my years of studying and reading scripture. So here it is…I won\’t be lengthy, but just want to see how many of us will truly ponder the things that David wrote rather than develop the next hit worship tune…..
Vs. 16 \”The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.\” This would seem harmless enough right? What is he wanting to express here? 1) I think he allows us to conjure examples for ourselves, and 2) He wants us to come to a conclusion. Firstly, David shows us that judgment is singular, because there is only ONE code by which God judges all things. He doesn\’t lay down judgments plural, because He only has ONE truth through which all things are filtered; the truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the standard-bearer because HE IS THE STANDARD. What does that judgment look like? When you think about it, you see the judgment is LOVE. God sent Jesus into the world not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17); so then judgment is NOT about condemnation it is about LOVE. God\’s Holy Standard of love [His Goodness, Grace, Mercy, Compassion,etc.] was given for all the world to embrace and return to relationship with Him. To deny it in any part, by embracing in name only, says the standard isn\’t really that important. Do you embrace the gift given; the code (moral, ethical, spiritual) that is represented in Jesus Christ? Are you being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ?
Secondly, we have to consider the second half of this verse. What is the illustration here? Simple! If you have walked away from the standard, then you haven\’t got an advocate to defend you in your frail human tendencies. You aren\’t a victim of circumstance, you are a victim of your own doing! The devil didn\’t make you do it, but the nature that is anti-God, and his standard, led you. In other words you made you do wicked deeds, the devil may have placed a thought, but you carried out the action. You cannot pass your wicked deeds off onto anyone else. You own them, so then you pay for them in the long run. You CANNOT declare God to be unjust if you committed the acts that are sinful and against the standard of righteousness he has laid out, and are judged/condemned. We have so many these days who have written and re-written scripture so as to remove their own wicked sinful deeds from the naughty side and place them onto the \”redeemed\” side. As if God waters down his standard for us! THIS IS NOT GRACE AND TRUTH!! The church is left to ponder whether certain lifestyle choices (that God has already spoken about and are therefore in eternity his standing judgment) are viable and acceptable. Love has changed from sacrifice to acceptance/tolerance of the very deeds that Jesus came to be sacrificed and die for! Love is supposed to change, not leave the same.
Vs.20 \”Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah\” I\’m sorry, put us in fear? God needs to make us afraid of him? NO! Fear means \”to be in awe of\”. So then to put us in fear is to cause us to be in awe of Him. Context goes back to the first \”ponder\” verse mentioned. When we realize the \”awe\”- someness of God, we will see that our version of what is right accomplishes nothing! This is a declaration to understanding the Goodness and Grace of God. Man has been seeking to be righteous on his own terms since the beginning of time; IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! Any accomplishments in my life that are of true worth, are not a result of me, but rather of God in me; specifically salvation! David understood the goodness of the Law the same as Paul did. IT was good in that it showed me my weaknesses and short-comings. It showed me my need for God to save me, because I can\’t do it myself. It causes me to run to Him for Salvation and to throw myself upon the mercy of His court asking to be changed and saved. To be placed in fear is to realize this, and to be humbled before a mighty God who loves me and cares for me as HIS creation. It is the GOODNESS of GOD that leads me to repentance and change not my vain attempts at saving myself without him.
As you can see, to ponder means more than a glancing thought for 30 seconds and then a move on to the next verse. Each time it is mentioned, we need to stop and ponder and receive the impartation and revelation that God so desires to give us! God can accomplish more than we can think or imagine in and through us as we take moments to \”Selah\”.