Thursday, March 3, 2022

Selah: God's Invitation to Stillness


By: Donna Bucher


“And, behold, a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

1 Kings 19:11-12


Selah. A small word full of meaning, intention and anticipation. Found 71 times in the book of Psalms and three times in the book of Habakkuk, its significance often remains overlooked. Yet, God chose placing this particular Hebrew word strategically throughout the psalms.


Most commentators agree it indicates a “rest” or “pause”, with the nuance “to consider” [what came before]. Given the poetic and musical genre of the psalms, this definition fits well. Especially since we find the word, “Selah” tucked both in the middle and end of many psalms.


Selah invites us into stillness before God, by intentionally departing from the tendency of self-focused thoughts. Whether reading the psalms with an eye towards comfort and encouragement, or with the mental energy of study, we tend towards our own interpretation. This attitude can permeate our reading of the scriptures in any chapter.


Truly, though we may not find the word, “Selah” outside of Psalms and Habakkuk, God still invites us into moments of stillness with Him.


In considering the verse above found in 1 Kings chapter nineteen’s account of Elijah’s flight from Jezebel, and noticing the many times God places a “Selah” in the middle of a psalm; I realized even in the midst of the busiest days, hardest paths and deepest despair, God whispers a “Selah”.


Often in the midst of turmoil and life’s demands we look for God; we lament His seeming indifference to our plight. Yet as Elijah’s learned, stillness offers the best place to find God. Especially in times of distraction, confusion, and demanding schedules we need the deep rest of a “Selah” moment.


Just as God showed Elijah neither the wind, earthquake nor fire held His presence, He reminds us seek the stillness of “Selah”; the calm space where His voice speaks peace to our storms.


Accept God’s Selah Invitation Daily

Just as God places a “Selah” in the middle of a psalm, seek moments of stillness within your day. Even a few moments transforms chaos and anxiety into peace and calm.

  • Five minutes of slow, deep breathing while looking out a window.

  • Add an extra five minutes to your bathroom break. Feel cool or warm water on your hands, as you breathe slowly.
  • Find a quiet spot to eat your lunch, preferably outside.
  • Silence your devices for a specified amount of time, even five minutes will make a difference.
  • Slowly stretch your upper body with your eyes closed.
  • Add five extra minutes to your morning devotions to simply sit quietly listening for the Lord to speak.

In the same way God places a “Selah” at the end of a psalm, choose moments of stillness at the end of your day.

  • Watch the sunset.
  • Sit quietly, while breathing slowly and deeply in your favorite chair, eyes closed.
  • Take a slow walk around your neighborhood.
  • Stargaze.
  • Read your favorite Bible verse or passage, then sit quietly, breathing slowly and listen.
  • In the warm weather, walk barefoot through the grass of your yard, or sit with your bare feet in the grass. In colder weather, soak your feet in warm water, add essential oils; close your eyes, rest.


If you feel overwhelmed by your schedule or life’s demands, try listening for God’s “Selah” invitations to stillness in His presence. God not only promises a rest within the “Selah”, He promises you Himself.

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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1 comment:

  1. Donna, lately the word "Selah" has drawn my attention as I am reading the Psalms. But it is also a beautiful invitation to us in the midst of our day to pause, be still, and remember He is with us and able to bring a calm to our souls as we think on Him.


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