Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Selah

A friend recently introduced me to the spiritual discipline of praying through Psalm 3. It is particularly helpful when we are at a place in life in which we feel that there are many difficulties mounting against us or when the complexities of life seem overwhelming. The word "selah" appears three times in Psalm 3. Selah is a word which has no good English translation but indicates a pause in the Psalm. It may represent a musical interlude (the equivalent of a guitar solo in the middle of a song). Its main purpose is to cause the listener (or reader) to take a few moments to think about what has been said; to stop and listen.

Psalm 3:1, 2 says, "O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, 'God will not deliver him.'" Selah

Take a moment to list some of the "foes" you are facing in life, whatever genuine or imagined fears and difficulties you sense in your life. Pay attention to what is going on inside of you. Don't be afraid to speak these fears no matter how real or ridiculous they may be. Lay them out on the table and have a good look at them. Examples might be concerns about the possibility of losing a job; relationship problems; money issues; health problems. Speak them out loud and say to God, "These feel like the foes that are against me."

Psalm 3:3, 4 goes on to say, "But you are a shield around me, O Lord, my Glorious One, who lifts up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah."

Make the words of verses three and four your own. Speak these words of affirmation, "God, you are indeed the one who lifts my head. You are a shield that protects me. I cry out and you answer me. You will hear me when I pray." Pray this and allow it to soak into your soul.

Psalm 3:5, 6 says, "I lie down and sleep; I awake again because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side."

Recognize that we need not fear our enemies. The foes listed are known to God. We do not need to fear them for he is ultimately in control.

Psalm 3:7, 8 says, "Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! For you have struck all my enemies on the jaw; you have broken the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be upon your people. Selah"

Cry out like this to God. Ask him to deliver you and to save you from your enemies. The fears, worries, difficulties, foes of this life can seem to have teeth that bite into our lives and limit our effectiveness. God can destroy the bite of these things. He can break the teeth that have their grip upon us. Recommit yourself to serving God and trust him to rescue you. Selah.

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