Posts Tagged Psalms

Selah

Psalm 32: 7 – 8       Amp

You are my hiding place; You, Lord, protect me from trouble;
You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance.
    Selah.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you.

This is a good time to learn about the word “Selah” because it impacts the understanding of this psalm. One of the primary ideas about this word is that it indicates a pause. We find this word mostly in the Psalms so one might ask if it represents a musical interlude or just a pause in the lyric or instrumentation. It turns out that it has more to do with ideas represented in the lyric than it does to the lyric or melody specifically. It calls the listener, or in our case, the reader, to pause and consider the immediately preceding lyric. Today’s psalm was written by David. When we hear or read “Selah” in the above passage, he wants us to stop and consider the meaning. He has just said something very important and he wants us to stop and be sure that we have taken in that important thought.

There is a second use of Selah. It is used as a bridge or a connector. It alerts the listener that the stanza which is about to follow is thematically tied to that which has just preceded. In other words, the psalmist wants us to hear the next passage with the former still in mind. So stop and hear what has been said with a mind to integrate it with what comes next.

In today’s scripture selection, David confesses his confidence to God. He is able to hide himself in God, receiving protection and deliverance from trouble. He says, also, God surrounds him with joyous songs and exuberant shouts. That isn’t the end though, because in the next stanza, God answers him.

In the combination of these two verses we see a great deal of their relationship. Not only does God protect David but you hear David’s confidence in that protection. David is the one who proclaims that he is protected from trouble. His trust in God is the unspoken refrain. Yahweh answers his confidence and trust with, “I will lead you. I will counsel you. I will be your mentor and will guard your way and keep my eye on you at all times.”

There is a relationship between these two verses and these two people. That is what we are supposed to see in this psalm and that is what the word Selah reveals to us. These are not two independent ideas but rather a revealing of the intermingling of their lives. This is a model of how our lives are meant to be. We also have a hiding place, we are hidden in Christ. We should have the same confidence is the three persons of the trinity as David sang of here. I am hidden in Christ and thus protected from the danger and trouble of the world. God is my helper, my right hand and my deliverer. God, for his part, will lead me and guide me in the way that I should go because I have hidden myself in Him. Selah!

Spiritual Wine

Ephesians 5: 18 – 19

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.

The Apostle Paul has a way of stretching one’s mind beyond its current limits. His vision of the church is quite different from what most of us experience today. I am curious, but then frightened to imagine what the Apostle might write to us today. Are we advancing the gospel? Better still, am I the Christian I could be?

Paul expected the saints to speak to one another in spiritual songs and psalms. Can you even imagine what that is like? How about making melody with your heart? Is that joyous praise or is there even more to it?

There is a spiritual realm all about us. Many have seen it. Angels have appeared and assisted people and even Jesus has made appearances. We can walk and move in this spiritual realm too. That is the invitation from Paul. It is a decision away.

The decision is whether we choose to drink of the world or of the Spirit. Is our life patterned more according to the world or by the Spirit? Paul tells us to be filled with the Spirit. What does that require of us? I believe he is telling the church that first we must choose the life of the spirit over the life of the flesh and its pleasures. Do not misread me to say that I believe you are going to hell if you have a drink. I am saying, however, that Paul is calling us to choose which is more important to us. People who don’t have time to read their Bible or don’t have time to pray find the time for drinks with their friends.

Paul is suggesting that we can have social time around and with the Spirit of God. We can actually have fun flowing in the Spirit. In fact, it is the most fun you will ever have. Nothing compares! When you hang out with the Spirit of God, especially socially with your other friends, it is not a far leap to begin to speak in psalms, hymns, etc.

There is likely no limit to the wonders we can experience as we walk with our Buddy, the Holy Spirit. First, however, let us be filled.

Clean Hands

Psalm 18: 24

Therefore, the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.

There are a few Old Testament prophets who have New Testament eyes and spirits. David and Isaiah are chief among these. David wrote most of the psalms and he wrote this one specifically. As an interesting side note, many people barely consider the psalms as part of the Old Testament. Many New Testament Bibles include the books of Psalms and Proverbs. I have known people who would scarcely acknowledge that the Bible contained anything more than Matthew through Revelation but who would read the psalms. The reason for this, at least in part, might be because David had such a big revelation of who God is.

Today’s passage screams New Testament dispensation to me. It has Jesus’ blood all over it. Hallelujah! You see, the passage is a little frightening until you get to the last three words. Then, all of a sudden, we are on shouting ground! I get fired up over this because I do not want to be judged or compensated according to my righteousness. That would end up worse than a lump of coal in my Christmas stocking. I am all too happy, though, to receive of God through the filters of His eyes. Yahoo! He recompenses us according to the how He sees us, according to the glory which covers us through Jesus. Come on, that is worth a shout, an Amen or something.

Give God praise. Give Him glory. He has laid aside a reward for you based on Jesus’ righteousness. Glory to God!