Good and pleasant. What would you put on a list of good and pleasant things? In Psalm 133, David used these words to describe unity. Unity is good and I long for it, yet I find it elusive. Few things feel better than being part of a harmonious, unified group where I know I am loved, valued, important, and in sync with others – where we are together in unity. But unity doesn’t just happen. It calls for something more than just wanting to be unified.
Psalm 133 is a great little Psalm that speaks to the topic of unity, and I find it describes unity in some very unique ways. Ways that are unexpected and surprising. I’ve read this Psalm many times, and many times I’ve read it without giving it the thought it deserves. In just three short verses, it calls out to us to live in ways that draw us together as a body, as family, as one. The Psalm starts with a simple call to recognize how good and pleasant unity is – no wonder we desire it!
Images of Unity
The Psalm then sets forth two insightful pictures of unity implying that the goodness of unity is somehow wrapped up within these images. The first of the two is the picture of the anointing of Aaron to the priesthood, a position of honor and service, by Moses. Moses took oil and anointed him, consecrating him to the office of priest.
When you read the story of this taking place in Leviticus 8 or Exodus 30, the word, “consecrate,” leaps off the page because it appears multiple times. Consecrate is not a word that we often use in daily speech. In fact, I can’t think of the last time I might have used it, but I’m going to start because it is so descriptive of how we might better view one another. Each of us who follows Jesus is consecrated, like Aaron, to the Royal Priesthood as the apostle Peter tells us in his first Epistle. We are set apart, dedicated, anointed, and ordained – consecrated – to this position. What if, in each moment, we actually saw one another as consecrated by God Himself? What if, whether literally or figuratively, we actually anointed our fellow believer? What might that do for our unity? Something profound, I dare say.
The second image we find in this short Psalm is that of life-giving water (dew). Mt. Hermon is the highest mountain in the Holy Lands and is the source of water for the springs, streams and rivers of the area, including the Jordan. The Psalmist, however, takes the wet dew of Hermon, and brings it down on Zion – the much drier hills around Jerusalem where it is so needed, where the people are, where life is needed.
Unity is rooted in this giving of life. When we choose to be life-givers, we build unity among those we are with. Conversely, when we choose to criticize, judge, or be complacent, we take life and unity away. Being a life-giver is often not easy, but it is rewarding, and one of those rewards is unity – like the life-giving dew of Hermon in the driest, neediest of places.
There is one final element that we find in both of these images – the picture of unity coming down from above – anointing oil running down, dew raining down from above. Likewise, unity comes down from above, from the ultimate source – the God who is above. And so I’m inspired to turn my gaze upwards to the one who has consecrated us and who is the life-giver. He came that we might have life and he consecrated us as his own. May we know just how good and pleasant it is!
More about Gill
One Challenge is blessed to have mission pastor Gill, and his wife Karen, at OC International for over 20 years. They have served as OC workers in Asia, and they are now based at the U.S. Mobilization Center in Colorado. In 2020, Gill took on the role of mission pastor to encourage, pray, counsel, and walk alongside OC workers in their ministry journey together.
More Spiritual Formation Resources
We are One Challenge mission workers serving the whole body of Christ by developing a new generation of leaders. The Holy Spirit is always inviting us to know God more and do the work of becoming who God has designed us to be.
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