The Hebrew word Selah appears 71 times in the book of Psalms. Its exact original meaning is uncertain. Appearing in Psalms that have elsewhere words of musical direction, it is thought to be instruction for a meaningful pause, during which the singers give themselves and their listeners a moment to think deeply upon the meaning of what has just been expressed.
freechristimages.org Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Annunciation, 1898
In ready willingness, young, engaged Mary, said to the angel Gabriel, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 Nine months later, upon hearing the shepherds quote the angels’ proclamation of the earthshaking mission of the baby she had just birthed, she “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
As we listen for God to speak to us in Scripture, we also do well to pause and let his words soak into our hearts. This gives us time to think about the repercussions of what He has said and how we should live differently in light of this truth.
Knowledge of God’s word is not to make us smarter; it is meant to change our character and the direction of our lives. “And don’t for a minute let this Book . . . be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed.” Joshua 1:8 MSG
Puritan David Clarkson said that “Meditation squeezes the sweetness out of [God’s promises stored up in our hearts].” Works I:187-189
As the old hymn says, it take[s] time to be holy.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8 NASB
O heavenly Word, speak truth into my mind and heart. I am not in a hurry. Let’s talk and know one another deeply. Soften my heart with the gentle rains of Your Holy Spirit. Let Him trickle deeply down into my being, and nourish me. Make my heart fertile soil for Your truth to grow and bear fruit.