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Psalm 133 - Unity of Believers

INTRODUCTION: This is a very brief psalm that is attributed to King David, and it is also listed as one of the psalms of ascent. Ascent can describe a process of going up that could be applied to the worshipers as they went up to the temple at Jerusalem which was situated high above the surrounding terrain. Ascent can also have the meaning of looking backward to an earlier point in an historical or a genealogical record. A few key elements of geography and history for Israel are essential to appreciate the deeper meaning contained within the few lines of this psalm.

NOTE: Scripture passages are from the World English Bible [WEB].

A - Believers living together in unity

Psalm 133 "1 {A Song of Ascents. By David.} See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity!"

COMMENTS: There is an inherent precious and prosperous goodness when the children of God live together in unity and harmony. This is a testimony to their realization that the Lord has supplied blessings in their lives that the world outside the assembly cannot fully benefit from, nor even understand. Their unity of thought and purpose in their worship together is a most pleasant, delightful, and sweet experience. Just as this was true for the faithful believers in Israel, it is true for the faithful in the church today. The apostle Paul made the following comments to the believers at Ephesus. Ephesians 4 "1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love; 3 being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." And this is in Galatians 6 "9 Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let’s do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith."

B - The preciousness of the consecration of believers

Psalm 133 "2 It is like the precious oil on the head, that ran down on the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that came down on the edge of his robes;"

COMMENTS: The anointing oil for Aaron and his sons to be sanctified for service at the tent of meeting was a specific formula of select spices mixed in olive oil. This fragrant oil was to be kept especially precious as it was reserved by the LORD and not to be used or even prepared for common purposes. Anyone who violated this prohibition was to be cut off from the congregation of Israel. See Exodus 30:22-33 for those details. The fragrant oil of consecration of Aaron is a very special symbolic picture of the set apart environment of believers when they are unified in spirit in their assemblies. In fact we read this in 1 Peter 2 "9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 who in time past were no people, but now are God’s people, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."

Paul told the Corinthians in his letter that God anoints, seals, and gives the spirit as a surety or promise. 1 Corinthians 1 "21 Now he who establishes us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; 22 who also sealed us, and gave us the down payment of the Spirit in our hearts." Prayer is an important part of the life of believers, and Revelation 5:8 gives the picture of golden bowls of incense (or perfume) held by the twenty-four elders who fall down to worship the Lamb of God. And that perfume represents the prayers of the saints. So, the imagery of the consecration oil for the Aaronic priesthood can have an extended meaning for the saints of today as enhanced by the further revelation of the New Testament.

C - Blessings from the Lord God forever

Psalm 133 "3 like the dew of Hermon, that comes down on the hills of Zion: for there Yahweh gives the blessing, even life forevermore."

COMMENTS: Mount Hermon is located just outside the northeast corner of the territory that was Israel west of the Jordan River. It has an elevation of about 9,200 feet above sea level and is covered with snow almost constantly. The name Hermon means "sanctuary." Jerusalem on the other hand is about 1,900 feet above sea level, and the name Zion is literally translated as a "parched place." Having the dew of Hermon to come down on Zion then is a most refreshing picture to illustrate the abundant and gracious blessings of the Lord. This is Symbolic of how the Lord takes from the sanctuary that he alone can access, to relieve those who come to the accessible sanctuary for relief from the parched condition of their souls. And what a blessing the Lord provides! Unlike the physical snow that is on Mount Hermon almost always, but not all of the time; the Lord's spiritual blessing of eternal life has nothing lacking and will last for eternity!

--- Reflections in prayer ---

Through your word Lord Jesus, show me my part in promoting that good and pleasant unity within the body of Christ. Oh Lord, I am indeed blessed in the ascent of looking back at my forefathers in the faith who now are enjoying the kingdom of light and eternal life. Impress upon my heart the responsibility I have to serve you as part of your royal priesthood. May I continually set my affections on things above as I am in anticipation of your appearing, and of my ascent at that time to be with you forever! Amen.

Published 13 April 2012