Summary: The blessings of people living together
“How good and Pleasant Brothers living together”
By Rev. Andrew B Natarajan B.Sc.,B.D.,M.S.W.,M.Phil.
Introduction to Psalm:
This is the fourteenth of the so-called Pilgrim Songs, or Songs of Ascents.David penned this psalm on the occasion of the union between the northern tribes and southern Judah. They all met at Hebron to make David as their only king after the death of Saul and Jonathan. It is attested by Targum and by some manuscripts of the LXX, The attribution of this Psalm to David is sustained by Scroll of Qumran Cave.
Here the psalmist emphasized the Unity of the saints and the chosen people. He called for the Unity and Peace among his subjects for the smooth functioning of the Kingdom and peaceful living of the communities.
He starts the psalm with the beautiful words of “How good and how pleasant, Brothers dwelling together in unity”. The great scholar Mathew Henry says“Unity is not only not quarreling, and devouring one another, but delighting in each other with mutual endearments, and promoting each other’s welfare with mutual services,and having one heart, one soul, and one interest”.
Further another commentary known as Treasury of David puts as“When they join together and are one in affection, when they are all of one heart, though possibly they are not all of one mind; or, when they meet in affection, though not in one opinion” yet unity must be exhibited in their lives.
Hence, unity is the identity of the Disciples of Jesus Christ. The best and foremost important prayer of Jesus is found in John 17 calls for unity among the followers of Christ.Paul says “you agree one another and have no divisions among you” (I Cor.1:10), agree for the sake of unity, for the sake of Christ, for the sake of community, for the sake of Church existence, for the sake of unbelievers.And further Paul says “Be of one mind and live in peace” (II Cor. 13:11), Live in harmony with one another (I Pet 3:8) with One thought, one purpose, one goal, one aim.
Mom’s Bible Journal says“sadly, unity is not a word that describes the Church of today; division and factions are more accurate descriptions of the condition of today’s church”. Another scholar Coffman Comments“Despite its fragmentation, despite its bitter disputes, anathemas and denunciations is still surpassingly Church is beautiful”. Further elaborates“God has commanded us to keep the "Spirit of unity in the bond of peace"; but we cannot `keep' that which does not exist”. So that what we can do is only look up to God in our helplessness and plead with Him to look upon us all with loving compassion and pity to create unity.
Therefore, if we want to bring unity in the Church as Paul says “Make every effort to keep the unity” (Eph. 4:3), such as,effort of forgiving, effort of forgetting, effort of accepting the weakness of one another, effort of appreciating each other.
Here the Psalmist talks about Ointment/perfume. He refers to the perfume made by Moses and later passed on to the priestly family. That Ointment was holy. Here the Ointment is compared to Unity in Love (1Jn. 5:1). This composition of Ointment was a divine dispensatory; God appointed the ingredients and the quantities. It was very precious, and the like to it was not to be made for any common use.
The ointment and perfume which make the heart to rejoice.Aaron and his sons were not admitted to do ministry unto the Lord till they were anointed with this holy ointment.Therefore, our services are not acceptable to God without love and unity within us.Often the Church promotes things which do not exist in the Church, which is very difficult to put it into practice.
The oil signifies worship, feasting, celebration in unity.Flow of oil from head to floor is the fullness of the Holy Spirit among the united. If we are united our unity is known to the outsiders, unbelievers, they will testify. The Gospel will have its own advancement in the unrighteous and crooked society.
The psalmist then turns to Dew.It is another natural blessing God bestowed on the humanity. The early human race or the pre-historical community enjoyed the blessings of the dew. Till the times of Noah the human race never knew what rain was.
Dew cools the scorching heat of men’s passions, as the evening dew cool the air and refresh the earth. In the same the unity contributes very much to our fruitfulness in everything that is good; it moistens the heart, and makes it tender and fit to receive the good seed of the word of God. On the contrary, malice and bitterness unfit us to receive the word and to receive the brothers and sisters (1 Pet. 2:1). Where there is no love and unity there the bitterness takes it deep roots and destroys the noble atmosphere in the community and Church.