Many there be which say of my soul, ‘There is no help for him in God.’ Selah. But Thou, O Lord, art my helper, my Glory and the lifter of my head!
Pause is the word the Greek translation of the Bible uses for selah. I like to meditate upon the way it occurs for the first time in the Psalms:
Many there be which say of my soul, ‘There is no help for him in God.’
But Thou, O Lord, art my helper, my Glory and the lifter of my head!
Psalm 3:2 [Septuagint]
We have all been subjected to the wearying voices which flood the very atmosphere around us, complaining, “There is no help…”
These voices murmur and mutter the same words, no matter what the challenge or difficulty may be. “There is no help…”
But because you and I are in God, we need not listen: “There is no help…” they repeat.
“But you, O Lord, are my helper!”
No matter to us what the voices say. Their words bring only weariness – but with His word comes peace and strength and courage to go on.
This is true, not only of the difficult outward circumstances of our lives, but with inward temptations too. We are tempted. And at once we recall past failures in the same area. This causes us to feel weak and start to fall. The voices within us are saying, “There is no help…”
Even these inner struggles may be turned to peace. How? Instead of trying to answer the many voices of the enemy, or arguing with them [we can never win this kind of argument], we must do something else.
We look away from self, away from the enemy. We look up!
“There is no help…”
“But you, O Lord…!”
Some believe that selah signifies also a sudden pealing-forth of musical instruments. The pause then, was for praise.
Then let us fill all of our pauses with praise! Let us give all that lies within us, not to the voices of the enemy, but to pure praise, to pure loving adoration, and to worship from a grateful heart – a heart that is trained to look up.
My Father, train my soul, today, to pause. When the enemy attacks, hurling words that cause me to take my eyes off of you… When I feel weak, and helpless to do anything but fail again,
I will stop.
I will look up.
No matter what comes, I will say, “But you, O Lord, are my helper!”
Amy Carmichael, Thou Givest – They Gather, p. 18.