As you read through the Psalms there is a re-occurring word, "Selah". Honestly, we don't have a clue what the word means. Some propose that it was for musical direction, perhaps a word that directed how loud or soft or what kind of tempo or even key ~ major or minor ~ the people would sing. That is a GREAT way to think about the word. When you come across "Selah" it is good to think would you sing this out with loud trumpets blaring and blasting...or do you need Robert Johnson's blues guitar in the background? Would you sing it loud or quiet...like you are whispering to an infant? Selah may invite us to think musically about the words we are saying...for indeed the Psalms are the original Hebrew Hymnal.
What if Selah might have also been an invitation to pause...stop reading...do not pass "Go" or collect two hundred dollars but actually think/reflect/prayerfully ponder what you just read?
For example, in Psalm 4:5 ~ "Quake, and do not offend...speak in your hearts on your beds, and be still. Selah" If you really let those words soak, settle, simmer in your soul that will take some time. Those words invite us to consider...what is causing us to quake individually, communally, collectively as a nation or world? What ways have we witnessed offense and what has been our response? How do we find our voice...our true authentic voice? And can we listen for God's still speaking voice?
When we let the words of the Psalm do their slow work upon our soul, it makes all the difference. Yet, that work cannot be done as though we are going through the drive-thru window at a fast food service. We let each word have its say and way with our heart...we return to that word throughout the day to see if there is a tiny new insight or idea that is pouring forth. The psalms are poetry in the best sense that poems move us toward a more profound imagination and insight into this life, usually with just one simple sentence.
I pray you will find the margins and spaces to "selah"...to listen...to be open to these powerful and profound psalms that truly connect us to the sacred.
And may grace and peace surround you as we savor these words.