Unity (Psalm 133)

My reading plan had me reading three verses today. Not three chapters. Only the three verses of Psalm 133. To be honest, I’ve never really given this psalm much consideration before. But today, I’ve sat here for some time pouring over each word. And, in case you are tempted not to look up the Scripture to for yourself, here it is:

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

I don’t know anyone who enjoys going to a family reunion when there is feuding going on between family members. I can’t imagine anyone who likes going to work when there is tension between co-workers. I’ve known people who quit going to church because of in-fighting and back-stabbing. And it’s a sad household when people who live in the same space harbor ill-feelings, hold on to differing opinions with resentment, or live separate lives.

“Good and pleasant” hardly describes any of those scenarios. Yet David tells us when brothers live together in unity, it is exactly that – good AND pleasant. (verse 1)

David is talking to the family of God, so he’s not advocating tolerance of sin in order to keep the peace. He’s not even suggesting we take a deep breath and stay quiet for the sake of unity.

I think, when he uses “precious oil” as a picture of unity, He’s talking about the Holy Spirit. When he speaks of the dew he talks of a place where God blesses, nourishes and refreshes His children. I think David is reminding us that the true unity of believers comes when we have one heart, one soul, and one focus – the truth of Jesus Christ.

I love that in verse 2, when the precious oil (which is often used in Scripture to denote the Spirit of God) is poured, it overflows. It runs down the collar of the robe. It’s not applied in droplets, but it is poured out like a bucket dumped over the head.

We can try to be tolerant, accepting, progressive, open-minded or whatever. We can learn to keep our opinions to ourselves for the sake of unity, and compromise all day long to keep the peace. But true unity of believers is not something we manufacture.

David tells us in these three short verses that it is truly good and pleasant when the Holy Spirit flows freely in and through us.

For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

May it be true in your heart, your home, and your church fellowship. May the world, that is anything but united, see the unity in God’s children and be drawn to the Savior because of it. May the Holy Spirit, poured out over all believers, flow over into our world, for Jesus’ sake and for His glory!

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