Summary: Psalm 133 gives a beautiful description of the kind of unity which only comes as a gift from God.
A Unity Community
SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 133
A few years back I took an introductory class to learn Hebrew. My most impressive accomplishment is that I can now quote Psalm 133:1 in Hebrew. I think the reason I remember it is that we learned it as a song: (demonstrate) How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! Psalm 133:1
I think we can all agree that unity is GOOD and PLEASANT.
I think we can also agree that it is RARE!
1. Unity is Good, Pleasant, --- and Rare
I heard a story about a visitor to a mental hospital for the criminally insane. The visitor was shocked to see that only 3 guards were supervising more than 100 dangerous inmates. He asked the guide, “Don’t you fear these people will plot an escape and overpower the guards?”
“Don’t worry about that,” The guard assured him. “Lunatics never unite.”
If you know much about Church History, you might conclude that the Church is full of Lunatics. In fact, you don’t really need to be a Historian to see that the church has a hard time with UNITY. Just scan the San Antonio Yellow Pages under the heading of “Churches.” You will find literally hundreds of “brand names.”
o You’ll see Eastern this-and-that and Western this-and-that.
o Northern and Southern;
o Reformed, Orthodox, and Evangelical;
o Four-Square and Full Gospel;
o Universalists, Adventist, and Spiritualists;
o Unitarian, Sabitarian, Trinitarian, … and Regurgi-tarian.
(Well, okay, I made that last one up --- but the rest were straight out of the Yellow Pages.)
Add to that the fact that even within their own little sub-groups, many Christians can’t get along. In Congregations all across the World, people are bickering and backbiting --- and quarrelling and quibbling. It seems impossible for Church folk to learn how to live together in unity.
But scripture makes it clear that the church is called to UNITY. Look at what Acts 4:32 says about the early church: All the believers were one in heart and mind. What a powerful description of the Church as a UNITY COMMUNITY.
So why do we have such a hard time getting it together? Perhaps one answer is found in our TEXT: How good and pleasant it is … when brothers live together in unity! Psalm 133:1
If you come from a big family, you may well think that brothers and unity don’t belong in the same sentence. Brothers fight. Sisters fight. Sibling rivalry is alive and well in most families. Take a look at the first account of two brothers living together. It’s a story of murder. And significantly, Cain killed Able for “religious” reasons. It was a religious fight over which of them God loved best.
Much of world history shows that “living together like brothers” is made up of power-struggles and wars. So if we ever hope to sing, How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity --- we obviously need Supernatural help!
Psalm 133 gives us two word-pictures to show what true Unity is like. Verse 2 says It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. Psalm 133:2
2. Unity is Like Oil
o Unity Blends All
This verse gives a snapshot of the day when Aaron was first anointed as High Priest over the new nation of Israel. The Oil that was poured over his head probably contained several strong spices: myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, and cassia. These spices were blended together in a base of Olive Oil.
In Scripture, Olive Oil is used as a symbol of God’s Holy Spirit. The Olive Oil blends these spices together in the way that God can blend us together. In other words: Humans tend to be what you could call … spicy. Our various strong flavors can clash with each other. Only the Oil of God’s Spirit can blend us together.
And notice that when Aaron was anointed with Oil, it was no little droplet of oil. He was drenched with it. It was running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. The Oil covered everything!
o Unity Covers All
If we are going to maintain UNITY in the Church, we don’t need just a little droplet of the Spirit. We need a good drenching. We need God’s Spirit to pour down over us and cover us completely.
I Peter 4:8 says Above all love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins. In the same way, God’s Spirit can pour over us and cover those rough edges of sin that make us rub each other wrong. Only God’s Spirit can give us the Grace to overlook each other’s faults so that we can live together in good and pleasant Unity. And when that happens, the whole world will take notice.