PAUSES THAT REFRESH
BY: CHARLES W. WELLER
Many times in normal conversation one pauses so that the importance of what was said might sink into the mind of the one listening, or even at a pause the purpose might be to affect the sense by a sudden silence. Such action is also found in the Old Testament, which the normal reader of the KJV or any other for the most part will not notice.
Exodus 32:31-32 reads in this manner: “And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not blot me, I pray Thee out of Thy book which Thou hast written.”
The – (dash) is a period of silence in the Hebrew. Moses was thinking of what he was going to say or offer to the Lord. We will never know what it was, but it could have been a promise to God that if God would forgive them, he (Moses) might do something for God.
Who knows what Moses could have promised or what foolish idea crossed his mind. Even if there was a thought, Moses didn’t utter it because he realized the weakness man trying to compromise with God. Today we might say: “If you will forgive their sin I’ll…” and let it trail off.
What man is there that can bargain with God? Just what was Moses going to do? Was Moses was trying to come up with a reason to save the people? His love for them and concern for their well-being, even though they were wrong and inconsiderate and misunderstood God, was truly gracious. Or Moses paused so that God would really consider what Moses was going to say next. This is the plausible reason for the pause. But then again, only Moses knows.
Luke 13:9 reads in this way: “And if it bear fruit, WELL; and if not, then after that thou shall cut it down.” The “well” is added but is not found in the Greek. The implication is that if it bears fruit the tender of the garden will continue to take care of it etc. Yet, it is not stated clearly, but implied.
Why speak of such things? Because many times we fail to catch the little thoughts along the way while grasping the big things. The thought is it will be cut down, but do we consider the idea that if it produces it will be kept? No. That is a secondary thought and might even not be considered.
Genesis 3:22 reads: “And now, lest he put forth his hand and take also the tree of life, and eat and life forever.”
Hear again there is a pregnant pause. A time to consider the real consequences. Could you imagine Adam living forever in a state of corruption? Eternal life preserving you in the fallen nature? What a consequence. In fact, the idea of such is so repulsive that God doesn’t even talk about it. There is no explanation. The next verse immediately goes on without consideration of the consequences.
Pauses are important in the scriptures to consider as are the italicized words. Many times these words are ADDED for clarification and are not in the original but placed there for us to grasp the deeper thought. Careful, slow, consideration of each word of Scripture is very important.
I’ve always identified with Psalm 6:3. “How long O Lord?” Not only is this a question as well as a statement, the Psalmist is also trying to express the total frustration of the situation. How long? Have you not said the same at one time or another?
It is important to read the scriptures with inflection as if the people were talking themselves. These are not monotone words that drone on. But words that are alive and full of meaning as the person actually said them. SELAH
The following verses consider the word SELAH. In Hebrew this word means: sit down and ponder that. In other words take the time to grasp the depth of the meaning of what was said. It occurs 74 times in the scriptures. Below are the scriptures.
2KI 14:7; PS 3:2; PS 3:4; PS 3:8 ; PS 4:2 ; PS 4:4; PS 7:5; PS 9:16; PS 20:3; PS 21:2; PS 24:6; PS 24:10; PS 32:4; PS 32:5; PS 32:7; PS 39:5; PS 39:11; PS 44:8; PS 46:3; PS 46:7; PS 47:4; PS 48:8; PS 49:13; PS 49:15; PS 50:6; PS 52:3; PS 52:5; PS 54:3; PS 55:7; PS 55:19; PS 57:3; PS 57:6; PS 59:5; PS 59:13; PS 60:4; PS 61:4 ; PS 62:4; PS 62:8; PS 66:4; PS 66:7; PS 66:15; PS 67:1; PS 67:4; PS 68:7; PS 68:19; PS 68:32; PS 75:3; PS 76:3; PS 76:9; PS 77:3; PS 77:15; PS 81:7; PS 82:2; PS 83:8; PS 84:4; PS 84:8; PS 85:2; PS 87:3; PS 87:6; PS 88:7; PS 88:10; PS 89:4; PS 89:37; PS 89:45; PS 89:48; PS 140:3; PS 140:5; PS 140:8; PS 143:6; HAB 3:9; HAB 3:13
PAUSES THAT REFRESH [Charles W. Weller] 1