Updated: Jan 19
Happy New Year! May I ask you to raise your glass as I propose a few toasts?
Cheers to being one day closer to when our Lord returns (Acts 1:11; I Thessalonians 4:15-18) and rests the government upon His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6) and ushers in peace that will not cease to increase! (Isaiah 9:7; Romans 16:20)
Cheers to our sure knowledge — that although we have tribulation in this fallen world, it is wise to take courage — because our Lord Jesus has overcome the world!” (John 16:33)
Cheers to the truth that since “the times and epochs” are “fixed” by God’s “own authority,” (Acts 1:7), transitions underway are subordinate to the sovereignty of God!
Triple cheers, cheers, cheers!
Selah is a Hebrew word that demarcates a pause. When someone says, “Selah,” (pronounced say’ luh) we silence ourselves for the purpose of being more fully present to reflect on what was just said. We stay in the moment until the person who said “Selah” breaks the silence and speaks again. You see, Selah is a musical term that mingles the beauty of silence into worship, celebration, and prayer. Selah slows things down.
Dozens of Psalms include pauses of “Selah.”
“I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He delivered me from His holy mountain. Selah.” (Psalm 3:4).
"Rescue me, O Lord, from evil people; preserve me from violent men who devise evil things in their hearts. They continually stir up wars; they sharpen their tongues as a serpent. Poison of a viper is under their lips. Selah.” (Psalm 140:1-3)
“Put them in fear, O Lord; let the nations know they are mere humans. Selah.” (Psalm 9:20)
“Let me dwell in Thy tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Thy wings. Selah.” (Psalm 61:4)
The powerful word, selah, appears in one more place (besides Psalms) in the Old Testament, and that is in the last chapter of Habakkuk. Look up chapter 3, verses 3, 9, and 13. There you will see additional selahs.
Selah is an important word in our vocabulary at Right On Mission. As you can see in our Culture Chart, one of our Core Values is “Prayerfulness.” That means when we pray together, or thoughtfully converse in a prayerful posture, one of us might say, “Selah” after something poignant is said.
I chose selah as our theme for 2021 because when we pause to reflect and humbly make ourselves present and attentive to reality, we realize just how near God is (Psalm 145:18; Philippians 4:5). Selah.
In closing, I raise my glass to make this final toast:
Welcome to the year 2021 A.D., an “appointed time” in world history that God long ago “determined” for you and me to participate in (Acts 17:26) as “ambassadors” for Christ (II Corinthians 5:20). Throughout this year, let us pause -- selah -- to remember we are here to promote the Kingdom of Christ.
Sarah Sumner, Ph.D., MBA