Luke 2:19 “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
I find it interesting that Luke 2:19 is the only place in all of the Bible that the word pondered is use.
The word pondered has the following definition: “To think about something carefully especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion”
There is a small word in the Old Testament that means pretty much the same thing.
This little word is found 71 times in the book that was the hymnal of Old Testament
These divinely inspired songs play on the keyboard of the human soul
That book is the Book of Psalms. These psalms were set to music
This small word we will be discussing also appears 3 times in the Book of Habakkuk
This little word that is so often passed over in a very interesting word
In fact, there is much conjecture about the word, Selah. Theologians offer diverging opinions about it:
Some say that its point of origin cannot be determined
Some say that its meaning cannot be determined
Others say that it is a musical note where one pauses and thinks about what they just said
Others say it is an Aramaic worship word meaning to “lift up”
Selah comes from the Hebrew root word “Calah”
It mean “To Hang”, “To Measure”, “To determine the value of something”
For example, a diplomat must weigh his words carefully
The word selah is man’s weak attempt to comprehend the exceeding riches of His grace Eph. 2:7 “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus”
So, the idea of the musical pause to mediate on what has just be said is very similar
So then, selah is a signature exhortation from God for our reflection and weighing of what we just read.
The word “Amen” has a similar idea to that of selah. Amen has the meaning “so be it” and is also a reflection of confidence.
This reflection and weighing of God’s words and our own words comes best from the gleaning and comparison of scripture with scripture.
This is in line with the words of Isaiah in 28:10 “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
I do not like telling you this, but there are many televangelists who do not weigh their words carefully comparing scripture with scripture. Their words are weighed in the balances and “found wanting.”
With this idea of “hanging of God’s word and measuring its eternal value, and with this time of the year, allow me to discuss the preeminent example found in the book of Luke
It is the first song of the Incarnation of our Savior. It was sung by his mother, Mary
Anna and Simeon also had their “Selah Moments”
As you know, there are always critics. Critics argue that Mary could not have written this song. They argue that:
Mary is too young to have written it
They argue that it her song is too packed with Old Testament references
They argue that the song is too carefully structured, too poetic, too polished, and too subtill to be written by a young country girl
They argue that it is too theological for such a young girl to have sung
They contend that Luke “borrowed” from the Maccabees or the Qumran Jews
Here the critics fail to comprehend the power of the Holy Spirit and her culture
The critics are right about one thing. It is sublime
As we consider Mary’s “Selah Moments”, there are 3 areas I wish to discuss: