Read Psalm 133
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.
Psalms 120-134 are known as the “Psalms of Ascent” or “Pilgrim Songs.” Every year as the Jews traveled uphill towards the city of Jerusalem to participate in one of the three Jewish festivals, these are the songs they would sing. They became a staple of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem back then and now they serve as a helpful template for us as we worship today.
Unity seems to be in short supply these days. But God tells us that that unity among believers is not only good and pleasant, but holy (even when unity is not easy to reach). Notice David is describing relationships among believers who are dwelling together. We all know close quarters can test relationships. So, he is talking about believers that will inevitably have to sort out some differences to keep unified. These are the exact situations where we are commanded to each do our personal best to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).
When we strive for unity, what happens is an abundance of holy blessing. David describes it as oil running down the head, beard, and garment of Aaron. The Enduring Word commentary explains that it was common in these times to anoint one’s head when entering a home, both as a greeting and as a refreshment to the one receiving the oil. Aaron was the high priest and would have been anointed with holy oil so precious it was used only for consecrating his service to God. So, when David describes unity among God’s children as the precious oil that runs upon the head, beard, and garment of Aaron, he is describing a unity of holiness that is a rare and abundant blessing. This blessing is so abundant it is like oil that runs from the top of the head all the way to the ground. Unity is a never-ending source of refreshment—and well worth the work it might take to achieve.
Don’t be duped. Satan tries to trick us into thinking our differences should divide us. But division is not inevitable! Jesus prayed in John 17 we would be unified and learn to get along. David knew and described believers dwelling together as good – something that points others to God. We have to recognize and remember, as much as it depends on us, we must pursue unity in order to defeat Satan’s plan of division. As Charles Spurgeon said, “What a sacred thing must brotherly love be when it can be likened to an oil which must never be poured on any man but on the Lord’s high-priest alone.” Unity is sacred, holy, and meant to bless us and point others to Jesus. Unity is worth the work.
- As far as it depends on you, are you living in unity with all? Is there disunity in any of your relationships?
- What do you need to do today to pursue the unity David described in this chapter and Jesus prayed for in John 17?
- Spend time in prayer asking God for clear direction on how to move forward seeking unity, fighting against division, and living in a way that points the world to Him.
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