How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1
At the end of a meal to mark Passover, a traditional Jewish holiday that celebrates and remembers the greatness of God’s saving work, church members expressed their joy by dancing together in a circle. Barry stood back, watching with a huge smile. He remarked how much he loved these occasions, saying, “This is my family now. This is my community. I’ve found somewhere where I know I can love and be loved . . . where I belong.”
In his childhood, Barry suffered cruel emotional and physical abuse, robbing him of his joy. But his local church welcomed him and introduced him to Jesus. Finding their unity and joy infectious, he began following Christ and felt loved and accepted.
In Psalm 133, King David used powerful images to illustrate the far-reaching effects of the “good and pleasant” unity of God’s people. He said it’s like someone who is anointed with precious oil, the liquid running down over their collar (v. 2). This anointing was common in the ancient world, sometimes as a greeting when one entered a home. David also compared this unity to the dew that falls on the mountain bringing life and blessing (v. 3).
Oil releases a fragrance that fills a room and dew brings moisture to dry places. Unity too has good and pleasant effects such as welcoming those who are alone. Let’s seek to be united in Christ so that God can bring about good through us.
When have you seen unity at work in your community? How could you reach out to someone you don’t know at your church?
Jesus, help me to show Your love, not only to those I find easy to accept but also to those I find challenging.
Psalm 133 is part of a collection of psalms called “Songs of Ascent” (Psalms 120–134) that were intended to be sung by Israelite pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem for the three high feast times of the year (Passover, Firstfruits, and Tabernacles). They bear this name because in Israel one always ascends, or goes up, to Jerusalem (both metaphorically and literally) to worship and celebrate God. In Psalm 133, this sense of ascent or going up is answered by blessings coming down. Verses 2–3 describe oil running down from Aaron’s head and beard at his anointing as Israel’s first high priest and dew coming down from Mount Hermon. The headwaters of the Jordan River, the sole fresh-water source for Israel, are at the base of Mount Hermon. The final of three blessings is “life forevermore,” which comes down from God Himself.