Psalm 67 says, "God be merciful and gracious to us and bless us and cause His face to shine upon us and among us -- Selah." Then in parenthesis adds...pause, and calmly think of that.
I often wondered what "selah" meant, though not enough to remember to look it up. But my Amplified Bible helped me out. I should use this Bible more often. It means, pause, and calmly think about that.
I was asked to do chapel for the elementary students at a Christian school. For two weeks I listened as the Lord gave me a message to deliver to the students. As usual I began by choosing songs for the children. Pulling from the ancient recesses of my mind I found myself humming: I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. I’m in right, outright, upright, downright happy all the time. Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. Jesus' Love is a Bubbling Over.
That last song is a favorite with the chldren because it has motions and sound effects -- a bit rowdy and wonderful fun.
Corresponding Bible verses about joy were rattling through my head with each tune. Hmmmm???? I haven't been full of joy lately. In fact, I've been downright joy-less of late. Could it be that the Lord had a message for me? And he knew I'd hear it if I had to teach it. Yep, it seems that way.
I got out my Bible and read from Psalms, "Your sorrow will turn to joy." "Make a joyful noise." "Rejoice." "Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning." And from the New Testament, Jesus told his disciples, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete." James says, "Count it all joy when trials come your way..." And in Thessalonians "Be joyful always!"
So what was the message? Clearly we're to be joyful. But how? Matthew 13:44-46 is a parable about a man who finds a pearl of great value and he goes off in great joy and sells everything he has just to buy that pearl. It took reading that very familiar story for me to remember, Oh yeah...I found that great treasure too. And I gave away everything for the joy of having it. Whatever causes me distress in this life always boils down to this -- I'm worrying over things that aren't mine to worry over. I gave it all to Jesus a long time ago. In return He gave me peace, love and joy. I only have to look inside and remember, I've got a treasure, I've got a gem, I've got Jesus. Selah!
And when I calmly stopped to think about that I found myself singing: "I'm In right, Outright, Upright, Downright, Happy all the Time!"