Selah Meditation is centered on the Word of God. It is scripturally based. Its thrust comes from the Bible’s constant reminder that we should meditate on what we read in Scripture. The goal is to be so familiar with the promises God has made regarding our relationship with Him that our soul finds peace and purpose. Biblical meditation dates back over four thousand years. Genesis 24:63 tells us that Isaac, son of Abraham went out to the field by night to meditate. Joshua 1:8 says “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night…”. David, as well as other writers of the Psalms, remind us 14 times of our need to meditate (1) and says over 70 times, “Selah”, ponder. (2)
While mystical meditation seeks to guide one towards emptying the mind and becoming one with the universe. Selah is a filling of one’s mind with the Word of God so as to know the Living God and Creator of the universe. (3) Ultimately, the goal is to have God dwell in us and we in God, through the love of Christ, guided by His Spirit. (4) Some great theologians have had this to share on the matter:
- Martin Luther referred to Selah as a sign that we are to think more deeply and at greater length what the words to which it is attached mean to say. He called Selah “a punctuation mark of the Holy Spirit. Whenever we find it in the Psalter, the Holy Spirit wants us to pause and ponder; there he wants to touch and enkindle our heart for particularly deep meditation” (Luther, 1956:37) (5)
- Tozer preached “Read it much, read it often, brood over it, think over it, meditate over it—meditate on the Word of God day and night. When you are awake at night, think of a helpful verse. When you get up in the morning, no matter how you feel, think of a verse and make the Word of God the important element in your day.” (6)
- John Piper tells us: “Now I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental, communion with the Lord. I began therefore, to meditate on the New Testament….”. (7)
The Selah Movement has combined scriptural meditation with a New Wellness Model, A Body and Soul Fitness Program. Meditation, as described above, need not necessarily be linked with such a program and can be the stand alone discipline it has always been. Its inclusion here is affirmation that we are not whole in our beings if the wellbeing of our souls has not been addressed. This fitness program would be incomplete without it.
(1) Logos. New American Standard Updated Edition Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(2) Logos. New American Standard Updated Edition Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(3) Foster, R. (1983). Meditative prayer. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
West, M. (Ed.). (1987). The psychology of meditation. New York: Oxford University Press
(4) “…be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love…and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16…19 ESV Bible
(5) Logos. Believers Church Bible Commentary – Psalms
(6) “The Tozer Pulpit Set” (1994), Volume 1, Book 2, page 117.
(7). “Desiring God” Revised Edition, John Piper, Multnomah Publishers, 2011.