Selah — Be Still

By Pr Herna Kong

Being still is something alien to most of us, especially in our living in the fast-paced developed country of Singapore. This fast-paced expectation has even seeped not only into our daily routines but also into our ministries, so much so that it leaves little room for us to selah — to pause or reflect. As a result, when we are faced with an onslaught of problems, we end up busy trying to solve them quickly, and to take control of the situation on our own, but eventually getting disappointed and drained if the problems remain unsolved. If that is not bad enough, we end up with stress, depression, loss of self-control, high blood pressure or some other undesired effect. 

Before any of the aforementioned undesired effect sets in, it will do us good to take heed of what is taught in the Bible, which is to selah when we are overwhelmed by problems. To selah means to take a moment to pause or to reflect, and to consider what God may be saying even when we do not fully understand it. To selah gives us an opportunity to have a moment away from this crazy, fast-paced and busy world we live in, and consider the immense mysteries and wonders of God. Paul speaks about this in Colossians 2:2-3, “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Therefore, instead of shouting, complaining, moaning, crying or even doing something that harms ourselves and/or others, let us do the opposite, that is, to take time to be still before God.

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us, “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD” (Lam. 3:26). Why is it good for us to be silent, in waiting for God’s help to our problems? This is because the silence and stillness help us reflect and introspect about ourselves, and to see if there is still something we have not resolved. The stillness also helps us refrain from doing something based solely on our emotions and/or irrational thoughts, and thus saves us from making more mistakes and compounding the problem. When God sent the Assyrians to conquer Judah because of the latter’s wickedness, instead of being still to reflect on and thus, repent of their wicked ways, and turning to God for help, Judah turned to Egypt and listened to the Egyptians’ counsels and the dictates of the Egyptians’ evil hearts, plunging Judah into more problems. 

In Psalm 46:10, we are told directly by God to be still, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Whenever our life goes haywire, let us take a moment to pause, and direct our mind and heart to God, who is in control of everything. Put our trust in God. As Jeremiah says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD” (Jer. 17:7).