Stop and Ponder
Holy One, on this Your day, I pause to reflect on Your work and ways. Grant me a new understanding.
Read Psalm 61:1-8
 For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Of David.
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The Psalmist speaks of the wonderful heritage that is his (1-5). Read Ephesians 1:3-6 and ponder what heritage is yours as a child of God.
Selah; stop and ponder. Selah is a word of uncertain meaning found in the Psalms and Habakkuk. “The word usually occurs at a place where a very significant statement has been made, making that a good place for a break or pause” (Merrill C. Tenney). It was understood that during the liturgy, after Selah, the music and singers were to stop; allowing the congregation to ponder what had been said. Selah is also what we need to practice in our daily lives. After a significant event, experience, or encounter, we should stop to ponder and gain understanding.
In the original Hebrew version of this psalm, a Selah pause is marked at the end of v. 4, dividing the psalm in two sections. In the first half, the psalmist cries to God from a particular context or experience: “my heart grows faint” (2), “against the foe” (3) and “take refuge” (4). These poetic expressions reflect a hidden difficult time for the psalmist; they are symbols of bigger personal realities that are not revealed in communal worship. Worship together is comforting, a time to bring our personal experiences and deepest requests before God. Certainly, difficult times are perfect occasions to cry to God and demonstrate our trust and dependence in him (1).
The second half (5-8) describes primarily the testimony of the psalmist’s confidence in God’s presence in all circumstances of life. God’s people can develop their family and social lives in confidence that his presence will be permanent in their midst. This confidence is particularly needed by the leaders of the land; this is probably the reason for adding vs. 6 and 7 to the prayer. We all, and especially those in positions of leadership, need to learn to trust in God more than in our personal strengths and abilities.
How often do you stop and ponder what you are experiencing? What could you do this week to help you grow stronger in faith?
Sovereign Lord, wherever I am, I can trust You to be there and watch over me. Even with people and places I do not know, I can call on You.
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