Psalm 3:1-8 O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; (2) many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah (3) But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. (4) I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah (5) I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. (6) I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. (7) Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. (8) Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah
Selah- This word is of very obscure meaning. It probably denotes rest or pause, both as to the music and singing, intimating something emphatic in the sentiment.
It is used 71 times by itself in the Psalms. It invites the reader to pause and to ponder (meditate) and reflect on the message, then to praise. One example is Psalms 3:2: "Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah." So every time I see selah it reminds me to pause, ponder and to praise.
In our text, David felt like he was in the minority. As many as 10,000 soldiers may have been surrounding him at this time (v. 6) did David's enemies view life differently, they actively sought to harm him. David was not sitting on his throne in a place of power; he was running for his life from his rebellious son, Absalom, and a host of traitors. When circumstances go against us, we may be tempted to think that God also is against us. But David reminds us that the opposite is true. When everything seems to go wrong, God is still for us. If a circumstance has turned against you, don't blame God-seek him!
As king, David could have trusted his army to defeat Absalom. Instead, he depended upon God's mercy (v. 4); therefore, he was at peace with whatever outcome occurred, knowing that God's great purposes would prevail. We can overcome fear by trusting God for his protection in our darkest hour.
Sleep does not come easily during a crisis. David could have had sleepless nights when his son Absalom rebelled and gathered an army to kill him. But he slept peacefully, even during the rebellion. What made the difference? David cried out to the Lord, and the Lord heard him. The assurance of answered prayer brings peace. It is easier to sleep well when we have full assurance that God is in control of circumstances. If you are lying awake at night worrying about what you can't change, pour out your heart to God, and thank him that he is in control. Then sleep will come.
David had learned the importance of Selah: pause, ponder, and praise. My friends, too often we lose sleep, lose our health, lose our peace because we never take the time to pause, ponder and praise. Or when we do pause, we ponder on the wrong things, and those thoughts do not lead to praise but to worry and complaints. We must bring selah back into our life if we are going to walk in peace, and joy.
There are so many things that are attacking the faith, hope and trust of God's people today. We are so busy we do not have regular selah moments.
Look at our texts again, and you can see these the three "P's" of Selah:
O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; (2) many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah (Pause)
(3) But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. (4) I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah (Ponder)
I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. (6) I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. (7) Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. (8) Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah (Praise)
True selah's always lead to pause, ponder, praise.
Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"
Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
Every morning, before my day gets going, I need a selah in my life: pause, ponder, praise. Pause and think of God's goodness, grace, and greatness. Ponder His Word, worth, and ways. Praise His Nature, Name, and nurturing. Selah!
"Lord, too often my day is filled with activity as I rush from task to task. If I do not have these intentional still times in the morning, my next still moment will be when I crawl in to bed this evening. I purposely will look for at least three selah moments today where I pause, ponder, and praise. Holy Spirit please prompt me, and help me as I change my habits beginning today. In Jesus' name, amen!"