Unity is a rare occurrence. Selfishness is still too common, even among believers. James wrote to Christians explaining that at the root of all conflict, divisions, and quarrels is a selfish desire (James 4:1-3). As the complete opposite to selfish desires, love is described as “does not seek its own” or “does not insist on its own way” (1 Cor 13:5).
Psalm 133 describes the blessings of being united. It begins with “Behold” – an exclamation arresting your attention. Then the rather common sense observation is given
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.Psalm 133:1 (ESV)
This is indeed the exclamation of every parent watching the children play together sweetly for a moment, or of an employer benefiting from the productivity of workers and unions who are satisfied, or of any adult enjoying peaceful relationships with brothers and sisters, parents, and in-laws.
The focus in Psalm 133 is unity among God’s people – those who stand united on the Truth, having experienced the self-giving love from God and coming together for worship (it is “A song of ascent of David” after all!).
The blessings of harmony encompass all of life – the spiritual and the physical.
The pleasantness of unity is spiritual.
It is like the precious oil on the head,Psalm 133:2 (ESV)
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
The emphasis on Aaron’s beard is a reminder of him being anointed as the High Priest of Israel – an affirmation that where there is unity among God’s people, there God will commune with them, cleanse them from sin and guilt, and lead them in the way they should go.
But the goodness of unity is also physical.
It is like the dew of Hermon,Psalm 133:3 (ESV)
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the LORD has commanded the blessing,
Mount Hermon was the water source of the rather dry mountain range on which the capital city, the city of David, Jerusalem is built. But the unity of God’s people would have the same physical effect on them as fresh water for an entire city on a dry mountain.
Self-less love for the sake of great harmony and unity among believers brings tremendous spiritual, and even physical, blessing to God’s people.
Remember, the “Songs of Ascent” were meditations and songs of preparation for corporate worship. As the worshippers would “ascend” the slopes to Jerusalem, they would be reminded of what worship was to be about. In this case, by way of application, it is a reminder for your drive to church to be a contributor to unity, not conflict, among the saints.