Selah - Pause
Things To Ponder
I have enjoyed looking at the Selah verses, and I want to move forward with the thought of pausing to reflect on God's Word. I am reading through the gospels and marking some verses that show how and what some people thought of Jesus. Let's begin with the gospel of Luke where we find Mary, the mother of Jesus. The angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and told her that she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus. She did not understand, but she was willing to be used of God. "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her." (Luke 1:38) After the birth of Jesus in the stable, the shepherds came to find the "babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger" just as the angels had proclaimed. "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19) Mary pondered. She carefully thought about all the things about the birth of her Lord.
"Ponder" is rarely used in the Bible, but there is a verse in Proverbs 4:26 that tells us what we should ponder. "Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established." God wants us to pause and carefully think about the path we are traveling. That can mean what you have planned today, and it can also apply to your direction and goals in life. When I was trying to decide on a theme verse for my web site I chose, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105) When we stay in the Word of God, He will guide our daily walk as a lamp unto our feet, and He will also show us the light for the path that lies ahead. "But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Proverbs 4:18)
In Your Heart
Yesterday we read Luke 2:19, "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." We are adding a similar verse today, "And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart." (Luke 2:51) My thoughts lie in the last three words of both verses, "in her heart." Last week we saw that salvation comes from believing on Jesus in your heart. After that we are to love the Lord with all our heart. "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38) Next, we see that we are to serve the Lord with all our heart. "And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul," (Deuteronomy 10:12) "Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you." (I Samuel 12:24) We are to trust the Lord with all our heart, as we read in Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." In closing, I want to encourage you to praise the Lord with all your heart! "I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore." (Psalm 86:12) We can do things out of habit, without really thinking about what we are doing. And that is fine for brushing our teeth, and the simple things we do each day. But our love, service, and praise to the Lord should not be done as a routine. We need to put God first in our lives and do all these things with all our heart.
The Shepherds Found Jesus
Since we are looking at what people thought about Jesus, let's go back to the first ones that met Him. The angels appeared to the lowly shepherds, and told them that Christ The Lord had been born. I like the response of the shepherds, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us." There are some that have heard about Jesus, but they never made that forward motion to find the Lord. The shepherds went with haste to find the Savior. We are not promised tomorrow. Please make Him your Savior today. As we continue with the story we see that the shepherds went out and told what they knew. That is what a witness does. He tells what he saw and heard, and that is just how the shepherds responded when they met Jesus. The Lord wants us to be witnesses for Him. As we do, others may pause and wonder at the things we tell them, and seek the Lord to be their Savior, too.
"10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds." (Luke 2:10-18)
Simeon And Anna Were Looking For The Lord
As we continue in the gospel of Luke we see that Joseph and Mary took Baby Jesus to the temple, according to Jewish law. Now, I believe that the temple was a busy place with priests and religious rulers and many people offering their sacrifices. With all these people, and animals, crowded around, we are told of two people who knew who Jesus was. As you read their stories in the scriptures below, think about how the Holy Spirit led them to Jesus, who was just over a week old, and told them that He was the Savior. Since I am not a Jew, I can rejoice in the prophecy of Simeon because Jesus really is, "A light to lighten the Gentiles." And for that I am truly thankful.
"25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem." (Luke 2:25-38)
The Wise Men Worshipped Him
Today we are still looking at the "Christmas In July" scenario and adding the Wise Men to the list of characters. We are going through the New Testament gospels to see what people thought of Jesus. The Wise Men worshipped! They traveled a great distance to get to see Jesus. They rejoiced "with exceeding great joy." They fell down and worshipped the King. They gave Him great treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What are we giving to the Lord in worship to His Holy name?
"1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him...
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way." (Matthew 2:1-2 and 9-12)
We talked about eternity, and today I want to continue that thought with our next Selah verse, "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah." (Psalm 49:15) The grave is not the end for God's children. We have victory in Jesus. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 15:55 & 57) Jesus is preparing us a home in heaven.
"1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3)
I have seen pictures of some beautiful mansions here on earth, but there is nothing to compare to the glory of heaven. Our pause and reflection today is to encourage you to find comfort, and a steadfast hope, that you can rejoice in the victory you have in Jesus.
"13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
Jesus Is The Only Way Of Salvation
Sometimes at night when I can't sleep I look up and there is just enough light to see the four blades of the fan against the white ceiling. It looks like a cross, and it reminds me of the wonderful gift of salvation from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that I talk about salvation often, and that is because it is the most important decision you will ever make. We have been looking at Selah verses from the book of Psalms and this is the last one we will pause to think about. "Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah." (Psalm 3:8) It has been said that Christians are close-minded and don't accept other religions. I am that way for a reason. I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and that it gives us the only way of eternal life and salvation. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) We also read in Acts 4:10-12...
"10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
For that someone who may not know how to be saved, here it is in A,B,C form. Accept, Believe, and Confess.
Accept that you are a sinner and sin has to be punished by death. Jesus died to pay for your sin. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Believe that Jesus is the Son of God who gave His life to pay for your sin and that He rose again on the third day and is in heaven with God the Father.
Confess your sin to Jesus and ask Him to forgive you and save you. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10)