How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! – Psalms 133:1 MSG
This is a song of ascents. It would have been sung by pilgrims as they ascended the paths to Jerusalem each year to celebrate the feasts. What an appropriate song to sing in anticipation of meeting together with brothers and sisters from all over Israel as they gathered in the holy city to worship God together. Attributed to David, this Psalm celebrates the bond followers of Yahweh shared as His chosen people. Twelve tribes, but united under one banner – the banner of the Lord.
David uses two different visuals to help describe just how precious and beautiful this unity is. In one sense it is like the anointing oil that Moses poured over Aaron's head when he anointed him as Israel's first high priest (Leviticus 8:12). That oil would have been poured liberally over Aaron's head and would have flowed down onto his robe covering the breastplate that held the 12 names of the Israelite tribes. Just as the oil would have soaked Aaron's head, beard, robe, and the breastplate, flowing all the way to his feet, so unity "covers" the people of God – making them one and acceptable in His eyes.
The second visual David uses is the dew that descended onto the top of Mount Hermon, the highest mountain in Israel. In a land where drought was a common problem, dew was a welcome and refreshing sight. Dew has invigorating properties, bringing life to parched ground and plants. Unity among believers has a refreshing and restorative quality to it. It brings joy and invigorates all who experience it.
Unity is to be sought by God's people. When we are unified, we can properly perform our duties as His priests. In 1 Peter 2:9 we read: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." We have a priestly role to play. But disunity disqualifies us from service. Jesus Himself prayed that we might be one. Over in His High Priestly Prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus asked His Father, "I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father––that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me" (John 17:20-21 NLT). Unity among believers is testimony to the fact that we are in Christ. It is only possible because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. When the world sees us living together in unity, they are drawn to the reality of God and their own need for Christ. So why wouldn't we pursue unity at all costs?
Father, I long that we may be one just as You and the Father are one. May our love for one another reflect Your love for us. Show us what real unity looks like. So that the world may know. Amen