Scripture reading – Psalm 133; Psalm 106

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Our prior Scripture reading concluded with Israel’s men of war assembling at Hebron (1 Chronicles). There, the Twelve Tribes crowned David king and assured him of their allegiance. Some of the men were “mighty warriors” and champions in the eyes of the people; nevertheless, they “were of one heart to make David king” (1 Chronicles 12:38). For a brief season, Israel enjoyed a rare spirit of unity and “there was joy in Israel” (1 Chronicles 12:39-40).

Continuing with a festive theme, our Scripture reading is taken from two chapters of the Psalms. The focus of today’s devotional is Psalm 133.

Psalm 133 – A Festive Psalm

“A Song of Degrees of David” was the title given to Psalm 133. As noted in earlier psalms by the same name, Psalm 133 was most likely sung by pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem for a Feast Day. Ascending the road to the holy city, one can imagine the hills of Zion ringing with the voices of worshippers making their journey to the Temple to worship and offer sacrifices to the LORD. The beauty of the Psalm is inspiring, and scholars suggest it was written shortly after David’s coronation when he and Israel enjoyed a time of unity and peace.

The Joy of Unity in Brotherly Love (Psalm 133:1)

 “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

The thought of unity in a world that boasts and celebrates diversity is almost incomprehensible.  Yet, unity is possible among those who sincerely love the LORD and practice self-sacrificing love. Paul, in his epistle to the church in Galatia, did not encourage believers to boast about their diversity. Instead, he encouraged them to embrace the spiritual unity they found in Christ. Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

The Simulation of Brotherly Love (Psalm 133:2)

 “It [i.e., the unity of brotherly love] is like the precious ointment upon the head, That ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: That went down to the skirts of his garments;” (Psalm 133:2)

The joy of unity is so sweet that David described it in terms of the sweet fragrant oil poured upon Aaron’s head when he was anointed high priest (Exodus 30:22-33). The aroma of the “precious ointment,” a symbol of the Holy Spirit, flowed down Aaron’s beard, over the breastplate of twelve stones that symbolized the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and “down to the skirts of his garments” (Psalm 133:2).

The Evidence of Brotherly Love (Psalm 133:3)

 “As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: For there the Lord commanded the blessing, Even life for evermore.” (Psalm 133:3)

 Psalm 133:3 takes in a picture of the snow-laden peak of Mount Hermon. Rising to 10,000 feet, it is the highest point on the Mediterranean Sea. When the snow melts, the waters from the snow feed the Jordan River and bring water to Israel and her crops. More than the snow, the morning dew was the subject of verse 3. The “dew of Hermon” and “the dew of Zion” provided essential moisture for crops and life.

What is the application? Brotherly unity is as essential to the fellowship and life of believers as the dew the LORD commanded and provided on Hermon and Zion (Psalm 133:3). In other words, the blessings of the LORD rest upon the fellowship of believers who “dwell together in unity.”

 Closing challenge:

 God has commanded His people to dwell together in unity, and when they do so, the fellowship is as sweet and precious as the oil used to anoint the high priest (Psalm 133:2).

Believer, don’t allow anger and bitterness to quench the Holy Spirit and rob you of the joy of brotherly unity. “Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14). Remember, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

 Questions to consider:

 1) How does it feel when believers set aside differences and dwell “together in unity?” (Psalm 133:1)

2) How rare is it for “brethren to dwell together in unity?” (Psalm 133:2)

 Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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