How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1
At the 2019 graduation ceremony at a local high school, 608 students prepared to receive their diplomas. The principal began by asking students to stand when he read the name of the country where they were born: Afghanistan, Bolivia, Bosnia . . . . The principal kept going until he’d named sixty countries and every student was standing and cheering together. Sixty countries; one high school.
The beauty of unity amid diversity was a powerful image that celebrated something near to God’s heart—people living together in unity.
We read an encouragement for unity among God’s people in Psalm 133, a psalm of ascent—a song sung as people entered Jerusalem for annual celebrations. The psalm reminded the people of the benefits of living harmoniously (v. 1) despite differences that could cause division. In vivid imagery, unity is described as refreshing dew (v. 3) and oil—used to anoint priests (Exodus 29:7)—“running down” the head, beard, and clothing of a priest (v. 2). Together, these images point to the reality that in unity God’s blessings flow so lavishly they can’t be contained.
For believers in Jesus, despite differences such as ethnicity, nationality, or age, there’s a deeper unity in the Spirit (Ephesians 4:3). When we stand together and celebrate that common bond as Jesus leads us, we can embrace our God-given differences and celebrate the source of true unity.
When have you experienced the goodness of unity in Christ? How has it brought blessing?
Heavenly Father, help me do my part to live in unity with all of God’s people.
Learn more about loving those who are different from you.
David’s reign as king saw more than its share of conflict, yet the theme of Psalm 133, which is attributed to him, is unity. James Montgomery Boice proposes that perhaps David’s coronation provided the inspiration for the psalm. The nation had been divided under Saul’s leadership, and David’s ascension to the throne likely infused the people with anticipation. A coronation marks a fresh beginning, one filled with hope for unity under the new king.
This psalm of ascents makes two geographical references, both to mountains. Mount Hermon, at 9,232 feet (2,814 m.) was the highest point on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It was far north of Mount Zion in Jerusalem (elev. 2,510 ft., 765 m.). The imagery of dew from snow-capped Hermon would resonate well with pilgrims walking the dusty road to Jerusalem to celebrate the three annual festivals—Passover, Pentecost (Festival of Weeks), and the Festival of Tabernacles.