Beautiful Unity

David Bast

Read: Psalm 133

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! (v. 1)

Brothers don’t always dwell together in unity. The first brothers, you may recall, were Cain and Abel. The fact is, brothers (and sisters too!) sometimes don’t get along at all. Families fight, siblings have rivalries, people living together disagree with and aggravate one another. It’s the same in our spiritual family, the church. But when, despite our differences, faults, and failures, we actually live together in unity—well, that’s a beautiful thing.

Beautiful, says the psalmist, like the oil flowing down Aaron’s beard and onto his collar; beautiful like the dew of Hermon falling on Zion. The oil was the anointing oil used to ordain Aaron to the priesthood and consecrate his sacred vestments (Leviticus 8). It symbolizes the Holy Spirit, who has been poured out on us so we can be priests to one another, bearing each other up before the Lord in prayer. Mount Herman in Lebanon was proverbial for its abundance of water, in contrast to dry Mount Zion. The unity of God’s people is like water falling on a parched land.

A practical question: how do we achieve such unity? In Colossians 3:12-13, Paul lists three key qualities: patience, forbearance, and forgiveness. Patience is longsuffering, being slow to take offense. Forbearance is putting up with the small stuff that annoys us. And if it’s more than small stuff, that’s where forgiveness comes in. The church that lives out Colossians 3 will experience the blessing the Lord has commanded. —David Bast

As you pray, ask God to show you how you might be healing oil in your family and church.