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A Time For Rest

by Marcos Romero

It’s summer time and typically most of us will take some time off from work and go on a vacation. It is a time to spend doing those things that you might find relaxing, visiting relatives or good friends. It is usually a time to change your usual behavior and just rest. Even Jesus knew that the body needs to rest, either from physical labor or emotional labor.

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. (Mk 6:31).

Have you ever been in such a situation, so busy with “things to do”, that you neglect yourself? The quality of your work and life tend to suffer!

Depending on whom you talk to, the word rest may take on different meanings. To the author rest may mean the punctuation marks he has at his disposal to get a point across. The period signals the end of a particular thought. The comma, used at times to separate ideas, gives a chance to stop and consider each of these thoughts. Theologically rest is the promise that God has given to His faithful followers.

Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you. But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety, Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there. ( Deut 12:8-11)

It also refers to reliance on God for our safety.

And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. (2 Chron 14:11-12)

In a spiritual sense, rest calls to mind a cessation from the troubles of the world. In music, a rest indicates a period of silence. The length of the rest is indicated by symbol that corresponds to a certain note value. In reading the psalms we come upon an often confusing word, Selah.

Now, someone ask me what this word means; go on, ask! Ok since you insist, I’ll tell you…I don’t know! No one really knows what this word means.

The psalms were often sung with a variety of musical instruments and often contained instructions as to the tempo or mood of the music. It appears 71 times in the psalms and 3 times in the book of Habakkuk. It usually appeared at the end of a stanza or (in Psalms 55:19, 57:3, and Habakkuk 3:3, 9) in the middle of the verse.

It seems to appear at a place where the author of the piece wants us to stop and reflect on what has just been read (sung). It may be that it appeared at a point where the singers paused while the instruments continued, much like the bridge in some songs.

Do you suppose that this indicates that scripture is meant to be taken seriously? That a mere reading of the words is not enough; that we need to reflect and contemplate what has been written? As serious students of the word of God we may need to practice meditation. Not the metaphysical meditation of the Eastern religions, but a quiet reflection of what we have just read.

It occurs to me that there are times when we need to insert (Selah) into our lives! Before saying something that may be hurtful, (Selah). Before making any type decision, (Selah). As we pray for things, (Selah). Before logging on to a certain web site, (Selah). And on and on it can go.

Take time to reflect not only on what the scriptures say to you but also take time to reflect on how we deal with whatever life throws in our paths. (Selah)

© 2010 by Marcos Romero, Jr.