Psalm 133 is the last of four Psalms attributed to David in the 15 Psalms of Ascents. While the exact timing and reason for it’s composition is unknown, it could likely be attributed to David’s reception as king over all of Israel which marked the end of a long season of division and discord.
In it we see 3 verses, the first of which declares a blessing, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” Followed by verses 2 and 3 which describe the blessing, “It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron … It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! …”
Such a short and simple Psalm can easily be overlooked in favour of those who are more lengthy and detailed, however we cannot afford to miss the exhortation here; God is pleased and honoured when His people dwell together in unity! We are, of course, called to be in union and communion with the Lord, which is our highest duty, but this supreme function must overflow into union and charity with one another.
If we belong to the Lord then we are a part of His body, and a body cannot function properly if it is warring with itself. See the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.”
Obviously, the presence of many parts needing to work together is an opportunity either for great discord or great humility. The more parts a thing has the more segmented it is, the more chance these differentiating lines between one part and another can become lines of division. We, as Christians especially, are in constant danger of puffing ourselves up and thinking ‘our way is the best way, the right way,’ and we can look upon those who are simply different as lesser or inferior. Our tempers grow short with those who have caused us grief and we arrogantly isolate ourselves from others in the name of pride.
David reminds us of what is truly and simply good; We are called together as one body, as living sacrifices, as living stones to make up a greater whole (that is, the body and temple of Christ) and that means fitting in right alongside those who might genuinely rub us the wrong way or have caused us anger or annoyance. True unity doesn’t come when there are no causes for division, for as long as we are on this earth, we can always find reasons to push one person or another away. True unity comes from seeing ourselves and others for what and who we are yet loving one another anyway, warts and all.
True unity starts with the humble admission that none of us are perfect; we’ve all rocked the boat and exasperated and hurt others. We have all grieved the Holy Spirit, offended our Heavenly Father, and piled our sin on His crucified Son. Yet even while we were His enemies, He poured out grace upon grace. We ought to extend that limitless grace to one another and not hold back! I challenge you, my wonderful reader, to hear the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 18:21-35.
True unity grows into love and forgiveness through loving understanding. It doesn’t mean brushing everything under the rug, but graciously dealing with hurts, accepting responsibility, holding our temper, forgiving quickly, and just letting the little things go.
True unity grows into love covering a multitude of sins, forgiving as we have been forgiven, and seeing those in the pews next to us as our God-given family who are walking that narrow path alongside you.
True unity results in us having the mind of Christ which has compassion on those who grieve us, and in a well-functioning body of believers that cast aside bitterness and gossip in favour of humble service towards one another. This unity is good and pleasant, a city on a hill, and our light in the world, that all may see our good works and give glory to God.
Lord, as I write these blogs and exhort others to live as you have taught, let me not be a hypocrite. Convict me of what disunity I may have caused and teach me to love others as you have loved them. Show me ways in which to lift up my fellow brothers and sisters, so that by demonstrating your love to others, I may do my part in edifying your great and glorious Church. Help us all to remove the root of bitterness and self-righteousness from our hearts and seek to serve you and one another with cheerfulness and thanksgiving. Amen!
Song: Hello Heaven - Strahan
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.