Good morning and happy first day of spring! It's slightly chilly here in my area of Georgia, but looks to be a pretty day. At the moment my world is filled with the buzz of family life: preparing for a doctor appointment and hopefully bible study tonight; my sweet hubby is getting breakfast cooked so I can write; J is loudly vocalizing and stimming. More about that later.
This morning in all the confusion of what to read, I finally settled on Psalms. Psalm 4 is the one I settled on for now:
- Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
- O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah
- But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.
- Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
- Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.
- There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
- Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
- I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.
This is a psalm of David. In the first verse he calls upon God, reminding Him of his protection when he's called before. Then he turns his words to others. "How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?" I had to look up leasing. It means a lie, deceit. Too often we chase after things that promise to make us happy -relationships, status, toys that we collect. While all these things can be fine as long as we don't let them take over our lives, all too often we can see that they bring about five minutes of pleasure and then the realization that we were chasing after the wrong thing.
Selah is another word that I looked up. According to my notes in the Thomson Chain Reference, selah is a pause or musical note in the psalms and in Habbakuk 3:3. I also looked it up online and the only reference I could find there was Wikipedia, which had this to say: Selah (Hebrew: סֶלָה, also transliterated as selāh) is a word used 74 times in the Hebrew Bible – 71 times in the Psalms and 3 times in Habakkuk – and is a difficult concept to translate. (It should not be confused with the Hebrew word sela‘ (Hebrew: סֶלַע) which means "rock.") It is probably either a liturgico-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen". Selah can also be used to indicate that there is to be a musical interlude at that point in the Psalm. The Amplified Bible translates selah as "pause, and think of that". It can also be interpreted as a form of underlining in preparation for the next paragraph.
I like the idea of using Selah as a pause to reflect on what was just said. Look at what David says in verses 3 and 4:
3.But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.
4. Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
To me, it was like David bracketed that thought. He wanted to focus on remembering that we as God's people are set apart. We should be taking the time to focus on God and pray so that we won't sin.
The rest of the psalm, to me, points out that we shouldn't be looking to the world to fill our hearts with gladness and peace. It's not going to happen. Only God can give real joy and safety. This psalm isn't so much a cry for help as it is, speaking of the joy and peace in David's life because he knows he belongs to the Lord. The last two verses say it all: (In my words) You've put joy in my heart, even more than in times of plenty. I'm able to sleep soundly, and rest knowing that you (God) keep me safe.
That last verse I really would like to paint either directly on my wall or on a canvas to hang in my bedroom. Such words of comfort! I'd mentioned doing that once before and it's still on my to do list. In the meantime, even if those words never end up on the wall, we should fill our hearts with the word of God. Having them there, and letting those words influence our lives is much better.