The Blessings of Unity, Psalm 133
In the previous Song of Ascent, Psalm 132, we find that the manifest presence of God always leads us to the Messiah, Jesus, our salvation. Thus, as the children of Israel entered the temple during Passover and other various feasts, they were singing songs that ultimately led them to the yearning and person of their Deliverer! Yet, they do not stop there. Two more Psalms are included in the Songs of Ascent.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing – life forevermore.
I find it interesting that this psalm of unity is preceded by God blessing His people with the Messiah. Only in Christ are we able to walk as one! We are admonished to look closely and perceive how good, delightful, sweet, and agreeable it is when we choose to dwell together in unity. This has the connotation of my heart preparing to become one with yours, causing a song to arise from my very being. It is not a one-time declaration of unity, or hypothetical statement, or wishful thinking. It is a state of being, of habituating with one another. After all, this was what Jesus prayed for believers (John 17:20-23). And it was not a prayer requesting that we learn how to "agree to disagree." As Paul tells us, there is one body and one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God (Eph. 4:1-6). Who are we to cause division among His body when we are not our own and have been bought with a price?
Unfortunately, the people of Israel failed to take this to heart. We know, historically, that the children of Israel did divide into Israel and Judah. They claimed the same God, yet their actions did not align with their beliefs, resulting in discord and upheaval. They continued to sing these Songs of Ascent, yet did not resolve their differences, first and foremost with God, their Maker, but, too, with one another. It is always easier to walk away than it is to become vulnerable. Like chemical makeups must change to form new substances, we, too, as the Body of Christ, must be open to change to see oneness. (This does not mean we compromise the Word of God to do so because Christ Himself is the Word and who brings us together as one. That would be counterproductive.)
However, there is an anointing that flows when we enter unity. The precious oil has a richness to it. In ancient times it was a necessary component of medicine. Healing is a result of choosing unity over the bitterness that comes with an offense. This is easier said than done. Note that it comes down from Aaron's beard. Aaron was the high priest anointed by God, but we have a high priest, Jesus, who sympathizes with our weaknesses, yet overcame, enabling us, also, to do so (Heb. 4:14-16). This anointing and healing starts at the top and works its way down to the edge of his garments.
Interestingly, this can be translated to the mouth of his measurement. I would submit for your consideration that perhaps we should be measuring the fruitfulness of our conversation with one another. With what are we clothing ourselves in our interactions? Are we seeking oneness or only to have our point of view affirmed by another? Food for thought.
The psalmist here compares oneness to the “dew of Hermon,” descending upon Zion. Hermon means sanctuary or sacred. Recall that Zion is literally “a parched place,” but is also the city where God has inscribed His name. Unity is likened here to when God steps into our collective places and gives His orders. It is where He lays charge and blesses His people. Is it possible that one of the reasons we see such discord within our world is because the church is so divided we cannot act according to all that God requires of us? The blessing of unity is life, and it is in the context of a company. This word life reflects revival and renewal forever. Is one of the reasons worldwide revival tarries because we have not chosen to act as one but instead built our kingdoms, refusing to be one in Him? As King David would put it, “Selah.” It’s time to pause and consider.
Only in Christ can we truly enter oneness. Jesus prayed that we might be one, even as He and the Father were One. This requires two things. That we understand the character and nature of God and that we become like Him. My life verse is Psalm 17:15, which states, "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness." I honestly admit I am not there yet. A greater transformation must occur, hurts healed, and lessons learned before that time. Yet allowing the Spirit to have His way in my life so that oneness can be accomplished within the Body of Christ is of paramount importance. I choose not to receive offense, and I willingly forgive even as I seek forgiveness. After all, God has been gracious to us all. Let us all determine to dwell together in unity and see God's blessing of life upon us.