Behold! How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, coming down upon the edges of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing - life forever. (Psalm 133:1-3)
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Have you ever experienced a situation that felt just shy of being heavenly? One where your chills were overwhelming, excitement peeking, all doubt, worry, and fear was vanishing, and you simply felt peace?
Maybe it was a late night conversation with dear friends, a four hour worship service with your favorite band, or a weekend retreat with a group from your church.
Though the specific details of those experiences may vary, there are two common denominators that exist in each of these heavenly situations: God and His people.
As the psalmist exclaims: "Behold! [Look; notice; be made aware of] How good and how pleasant it is for brothers [God's people] to dwell together in unity."
It is good because it expresses and reflects a good God. And it is pleasant because we experience and recognize God's fullness.
I can never say this enough... but we must realize - I must realize - that we come in contact with the fullest, deepest, and most dynamic experience of God's character and presence when we are united with His body.
Just think of it rationally: The best way to communicate and experience "who a person is" is when you are face to face. We become face to face with God when we are actively engaging in His church; His body.
With that in mind, the psalmist dives deep into what this unity should be like.
"It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron's - the High Priest's - beard, coming down upon the edges of his robes."
In Jewish tradition, the High Priest would be anointed heavily with a fragrant oil before entering into the "Holy of Holies." This was the place where he would - once a year - sacrifice an animal to receive forgiveness for all of Israel's sins during the past year.
The oil signified a unified forgiveness. Just as the fragrance spread to everyone surrounding Aaron, the forgiveness spread to all Israelites. The oil also signified redemption. This act of one cleansed the acts of many.
And the connection is the same today. Our unity with our brothers and sisters should bring about a shared forgiveness and redemption. We must realize that the divine act of one cleansed all of the wretched acts of many. We live in a Kingdom - in an eternal life - that is forever connected with others.
In fact, Jesus' work on the cross was not just to save me but to save all; to bring about a unified Kingdom, not to just bring about a glorified Greg. We must realize that unity should bring us to a bigger understanding of life, so that we all smell the fragrance of Christ.
"It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion..."
Mount Hermon was the highest mountain in Syrai and could be seen from all surrounding areas. It was also known for its vast amount of refreshing water.
For two-thirds of the year, it was covered in snow and received much rain. During the last third of the year, it would be the major source of supply for the Jordan River and for the growth and productivity of surrounding crops.
In short, the rushing waters of Hermon were refreshing and productive.
Unlike tiring stress brought about by disunion, fights, and disagreements, the unity found in the Body of Christ should be refreshing. It should reinvigorate souls. People should come in contact with believers and feel the refreshing sense of love, community, and acceptance.
Not only this, but the unity of God's people should be productive. Like the water's of Hermon, our lives should spread growth, revitalize the dying, and play an active role in God's redemption.
If you show me a believer who is stingy, keeps to themselves, heavy with burdens, and unproductive in life...You have shown me someone who desperately needs the good and pleasant experience of being unified with other believers.
If this is you today, then I challenge you to look around you, take notice of God's people, and push yourself to be with them. Only then will you experience God's characteristics more fully, be a refreshing source of hope for others, and productively spread growth all around.
May this be us today. We would love to know: What characteristics of God have you learned more "vividly" through being with His people? Feel free to answer it in today's Instagram post! (Find it at Instagram.com/DeclareGlory)
Greg, Declare Glory