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We just finished a 2-week look at Psalm 88 & Psalm 89 which reminded us of the reality of temporary darkness and the certainty of eternal light. We said our dark days are meant to get our attention to rely on God’s covenant promise.
Something else we should be aware of: Whenever we run to or return to Jesus, the enemy of our souls prepares an attack (1 Samuel 7:3-10; 1 Peter 5:8).
The next psalm with a Selah is David’s prayer in Psalm 140. Selah appears 3 times in this short, 13-verse psalm.
We’ve said that Selah can mean a pause to carefully consider, a pause to observe the contrasts, or a pause to prepare for a crescendo. The Selahs after verses 3 and 5 don’t appear to fit the second or third definitions, but why would David ask us to pause to consider what wicked men are doing? I believe it is because we need to pause to contemplate two vital things, which I’ll share with you in a moment.
But first, notice the wicked men and evil times that David is confronting. He speaks of evildoers, violent people, wicked men, arrogant people, and slanderers (vv. 1, 4-5, 8, 11).
Surrounding the first two Selahs, check out David’s prayer for God to…
- …rescue me (v. 1a)—get me out of here, or take the evil away from me
- …protect me (v. 1b, 5b)—don’t let me be defeated or even diminished
- …keep me (v. 4a)—we might say David is asking God to “watch my six” or guard the places I cannot see (notice the words net and traps in v. 5b)
The first Selah lesson we should take away is: There, but for the grace of God, go I.
If I hadn’t accepted Jesus as my Savior and had a new nature imparted to me, I would be doing exactly what these wicked people are doing. Paul tells Timothy what evil people will do, and he tells the Corinthian Christians that they used to be those same kinds of people (2 Timothy 3:1-5; 1 Corinthians 6:11).
When I see evil men, men of violence, and wicked people who are proud and slandering, I need to Selah to pray that the light and love of Jesus will be revealed to them.
The second Selah lesson we should take away is: God is doing something in my life through wicked men and evil times.
The words the Holy Spirit prompted David to pen have a richer definition than what I previously shared with you. Check this out…
- …rescue me (v. 1a) also means make me strong and well-armed for battle
- …protect me (v. 1b, 5b) envisions a gardener carefully watching over his vineyard to bring the plants to fruitful maturity (like in John 15:1-2)
- …keep me (v. 4a) can mean “fight for me”
Sometimes God protects me from violence. Sometimes God protects me through violence. Whatever the case, I can be assured that I will be rescued and He will be glorified. This prayer in Psalm 140 is a prayer for protection so that we can be fruitful for God’s kingdom.
We need to Selah during the evil times we live in and whenever we have to endure wicked attacks.
- Selah to thank God that you have been redeemed from that evil lifestyle by your faith in Jesus, and then pray for your attackers (Matthew 5:44).
- Selah to thank God that He is using even evil people to make you more fruitful, to arm you for battle, and to glorify His name (Mark 13:9).
If you’ve missed any of the messages in our Selah series, you can check them all out by clicking here.
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