A song of ascents. Of David.
How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,(Ps. 133:1-3 NIV)
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life for evermore.
This psalm is all about the preciousness of church unity. The importance of the unity of God’s people can be seen in the prayer that Jesus prayed in John 17.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one– I in them and you in me– so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.(Jn. 17:20-23 NIV)
When God’s people live together in unity it is good and pleasant for God’s people and it is good and pleasant for God to see His people united.
All believers in Christ are the people of God. We are brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the unique, one and only Son of God. We are His adopted people. We are children of God, adopted by the Spirit of God into the family of God. Our heavenly destination is unity, never to disagree, never again to be inspired by selfish ambition, never again to make decisions out of a lack of wisdom or misdirected zeal. Why cannot all believers in Christ get along on this earth? It has to do with the frailty of our humanity. Yet it is Christ’s prayer that unity should exist. We can have virtual unity of doctrine in some churches but lack unity of purpose. We can have a clash of cultures where we don’t understand each other and make little effort to understand each other. We can have a clash of personalities; we don’t like each other’s stance on life. We can have strong personalities that create unrest. What to one person is important is less important to the other. These difficulties are not reasons to avoid striving for unity. Unity is Christ’s prayer for us.
The Psalmist then provides two illustrations of what unity is like. It is like anointment descending and like dew descending.
In both examples the picture is of something descending from above. The first picture of ointment has the idea of the anointing of Aaron as high priest. God ultimately anoints His people for service and he chooses and anoints Aaron. When we think of the anointing of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and anointed Him for His public ministry. The ointment is described as precious. It is precious in two senses. First, it is a commodity that was expensive and to provide it was costly and sacrificial. Second, it was precious because of what it signified. The precious ointment was poured upon Aaron’s head and ran down his beard, over his collar, and those who knew how the high priest was enrobed, would know that the high priest wore a breast plate that had twelve precious stones each representing one of the twelve tribes of the OT people of God. The ointment would descend upon all the precious stones, representing the unity of God’s people. There was an anointing from heaven, identifying and commissioning the high priest for service to all of the people of God. Each believer is anointed by the same Holy Spirit incorporated into union in the one Christ. The high priest was set apart for God by his anointing, and each one of us as priests in our own anointing have been set apart for God. By the same Holy Spirit adopted into the one family.
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.(Eph. 4:13 NIV)
The second picture is of the dew that descends upon Mount Hermon but the thought is to consider that falling on Mount Zion.
We do not have anything at all to do with the dew falling. God sends it wherever He will. The dew that falls from God is symbolic of the Spirit. As the dew descends from above so it pictures the blessing of God descending upon His worshipping people. There is no greater blessing to be bestowed upon humanity than the blessing of everlasting life. The believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are blessed with this greatest of all blessings.
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.(Joel 2:28-29 NIV)
In these last days God has poured out His Holy Spirit not to make us a collection of individuals, but to join us together in unity because this is good and pleasant.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.(Ps. 139:23-24 NIV)
Lord the offensive ways in us have prevented unity. Forgive us for our offensive ways and lead us in the way everlasting. May we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us that we might enjoy how good and pleasant it is to love together in unity, because we ask this in the name of our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Amen.