UNITY BRINGS BLESSING
Almighty God, on this Lord’s Day, may Your praise ring out clearly over all the earth.
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘How good and pleasant is the sight / when brethren make it their delight / to dwell in blest accord’.1 Pray for unity among Christians across racial, national and denominational divides.
Our faith must shape not only how we live as individuals but also how we live together – in community, as a community. Early in Exodus we read of God’s commitment to form a people and give them a land.2 As they take possession of the Promised Land, God’s people must learn to ‘live together in unity’ (v 1).
As king, David would have been deeply conscious of the importance of unity. He uses two images to emphasize ‘How good and pleasant’ (v 1) unity is. When Aaron was consecrated as Israel’s high priest, Moses had to ‘Take the anointing oil and anoint him by pouring it on his head’.3 David’s first image portrays oil poured out so lavishly that it runs all the way down Aaron’s beard and robe (v 2): ‘The anointing oil intended for the head … was not confined to it, nor could its fragrance be contained.’4 The second image draws on nature. Hermon, Israel’s highest mountain, was well watered, while Mount Zion was situated in a more arid region. To enjoy ‘the dew of Hermon … falling on Mount Zion’ (v 3) was a wonderfully welcome blessing, holding out the promise of plenty and prosperity.
There is great strength in a nation that is undergirded by unity. The unity that David extols cannot be brokered by human agencies: it is a ‘good and perfect gift … from above’.5 God’s people must defend and nurture this unity. Authentic fellowship goes far deeper than cups of coffee and casual conversations on Sundays. It is forged by working through differences in personalities and preferences, patience with flaws and failures, speaking truth in love and extending costly grace. Then God’s people will enjoy the fullness of blessing (v 3b).
‘Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit’.6 Where disunity prevails, consider: Am I part of the problem? How can I be part of the solution?
Mighty God, I pray for myself that I might be inviting and welcoming to those who are different from me. And that prayer of unity I pray for my church also.
1 Charles Gabriel, 1856–1932 2 Exod 6:6–8 3 Exod 29:7 4 Derek Kidner, Psalms 73–150, IVP, 1975, p453 5 James 1:17 6 Eph 4:3