There is magnificent order and structure to God’s Word — a dedication to intention that flows into the construct of our lives as well. His instructions, guidance, warnings, and encouragement are not haphazardly tossed together in a nonsensical manner. Instead, His Word is a complete story — a narrative strung together by reason and bound by incomprehensible love for us! Composed of history, poetry, songs, parables, and accounts of His devotion and faithfulness, we discover a God who does nothing by accident.
In the Psalms — songs of praise, lament, request, and raw honesty — we find a particular term lending structure throughout: “Selah.” First seen in Psalm 3, a song written by David as he was fleeing for his life, we find the word “Selah” repeated three times. Although the direct meaning is unknown, most find this word to lend technical structure to musical pieces. It gives direction, pause, accentuation, and even interruption. It is placed strategically to help us understand the feeling, intention, and continuation of a musical masterpiece.
These intentional interludes and calls to rest inspired three songs on our newest album, Hidden In My Heart, Volume IV. Selah I, Selah II, and Selah III act much like the shade of a welcoming tree, inviting us to quiet ourselves and consider what God might be saying along this musical journey through Scripture. These purposeful pauses serve as transitions, positioning our hearts to receive God’s living and active Word.
Considering the placements of “Selah” in Psalm 3, we discern what God would have us pause and steep our minds and spirits in.
In verse 3-4 we read,
“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah”
It’s as if God is telling us, “Stop here, think on this. I am your shield, and I answer your cries.”
And in verse 8, “Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing be on your people! Selah”
“Selah” acts as a prompt beckoning us to stop and consider the emphasis God places on His promises and truth.
Just as carefully as God has structured His living and active Word, He coordinates details in our lives. Psalm 139:14-17 shows us His careful handiwork in our days, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well … all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are Your thoughts, God!”
Whenever our heavenly Father writes “Selah” into our days, it is there for a reason. Perhaps He is calling us to an imperative pause — to step back and consider what He wants to do amid our busy days. It is an invitation to rest in His refuge and strength. Maybe He is accentuating something in our spirits, as if saying, “Wait, stop here. This is important.” Maybe “Selah” is a transition or pivot, a redirection away from harm or distraction and into His glorious grace and purpose. Whatever the reason, when we hear His Spirit whispering “Selah” or, “Wait here a moment,” may we heed His invitation. We can trust He has good things for us in the intentional pauses He places in our lives.
We may at first push against these pauses. Wanting to press on, overcome, achieve, and keep going, we’re apt to miss God’s invitations of rest or redirection. May we grow ever so sensitive to His Spirit that we never pass by a careful note in His plan for our lives. As an articulate composer, God orchestrates these “Selah” pauses throughout the melodies of our days. As He does, He is arranging a far greater symphony than we can fathom — that of His everlasting kingdom.