2008 will be a memory, in three short hours from the time I write this. And mercifully so. Midwinter is now upon me. I am hearing the Lord whisper, "Come aside, beloved..."
The winter season lends itself so well to the urge to contemplate. I love New Year's Eve and New Year's Day for that very reason - the brief down time. For me, down time inevitably gives way to an original idea. I need the chance, by now, to pull in and center down and simply think my own thoughts. Contemplation is a lost art. I sincerely believe the devil has issued his "order from headquarters" that all Christians be kept, at all costs, from gazing idly out the window at falling snow. If I spend adequate time doing that, I might have a "Selah moment."
"Selah" is that Hebrew word you've read many times in the Psalms of David and in the book of Habakkuk. The word appears in the Bible over 70 times. One old theologian contends that it is a name of God. One thing we do know, this word appears only in poetry - the poetry of song. Often, it was an indication to change pitch, in order to emphasize what was to come next in the song.
To do this, to change pitch, meant the harpist had to pause long enough to re-tune his harp to a new octave. Generally, it is accepted that "Selah" means to "Pause, and deeply consider".
You and I need to pause. You and I need a bit of down time. The Lord will call you and I aside, so that He can tune our heart-strings to the next octave. What is on the horizon, what comes next in the song of our lives, means our pitch cannot be the same as it was in 2008. A change is needed. When God brings new direction, it becomes necessary to set aside some time to re-tune. Don't rush into the next verse of your song, still plunking your harp on the same old octave. It won't work. Instead....Selah.
As I take stock of the year gone by, and the year just ahead, I compare where I am today to where I was a year ago. In many ways, this brings me to my knees because the Mighty God hath done great things for me. In other ways, this contemplation fills me with a terrible ache, because something or someone is missing from my life that was there just one short year ago.
Still. The response is the same. To my knees I go because His name is to be blessed and praised.
Regardless of whether the silence of the Selah brings us joy or pain, let's never allow a devilish conspiracy of distraction keep us from our "pause, and deeply consider." The wisdom of God waits in the wings, silently. The thoughts of God are not easily gathered, they are buried treasure. He longs for us to sing a new song to Him, but first He must give us the words and the tune.
A song is not a song without the pauses. The poem of your life cannot be read properly without stopping in the right places. A life cannot be well lived in perpetual motion.
Selah, my friend.