“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
Do you observe the divisions among people? Turn on the news and you’ll see people screaming at each other over political differences. Division among people is not limited to politics, it even occurs in churches. The early church struggled with divisions among them (cf. Acts 15:1-11). Paul wrote, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you” (1 Corinthians 1:10-11).
Unity among God’s people requires a great deal of effort because, in our weaknesses, we tend to want to fight with each other. The apostle Paul wrote how we need to be “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Jesus prayed for unity among His followers: “"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21). Jesus, who has been tempted in all points which we have (Hebrews 4:15), knew it would be challenging for His followers to keep united.
However, when the followers of God endeavor to keep unity among them, something beautiful occurs. As the opening verse above indicates, it is “good” and “pleasant” when brethren dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1). The psalmist likens this unity to 2 separate things. First, regarding brethren dwelling together in unity, the author writes, “It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments” (Psalm 133:2). When Aaron became high priest, Moses took some of the holy oil which had which had been used to anoint the tabernacle and all of its furnishings (Lev. 8:10-11), and anointed Aaron by pouring this holy oil upon his head (Lev. 8:12). Thus, as the holy oil was used to make holy the tabernacle and its furnishings, the holy oil was used to indicate Aaron was holy and ready to serve God as High Priest of the Israelite nation. Unity among brethren is holy! It is sacred and it should be cherished! Furthermore, the holy oil flowed from Aaron’s head and beard and ran down to the edge of his garments. When a spirit of unity exists among God’s people, it flows throughout the church and blesses everyone who is in it.
Second, the psalmist tells us regarding unity among God’s people: “It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing-- life forevermore” (Psalm 133:3). As the dew that fell upon Mt. Hermon eventually descended and provided water for God’s people in Zion (i.e. Jerusalem), so unity among God’s people is a great source of nourishment for God’s people. It is encouraging knowing I have brothers and sisters in Christ who are united with me and are a source of spiritual encouragement to me.
Today, I will “endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). I will not focus on differences in personalities and personal opinions that often separate brethren. I will submit to the standard of God’s Word and encouragement my brethren to do the same so that we may all say together, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
“Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind” (Philippians 3:16).