Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity. It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. — from Psalm 133
Discord is easy. Disagreement is natural. We need to be right. And if we are right, then they have to be wrong. It’s true in the culture at large and it’s often true between and within churches as well. It is pleasing to see an increase in cooperation in and among churches recently.
Where I live in the Houston area, for example, there is a large network of churches dedicated to working together to plant new churches. While it is encouraging to see networks like this one, there is still a ways to go. Too many churches still treat church growth as a competition. What would happen if there was unity within the Church?
In Psalm 133, David describes unity among brothers as good and pleasant. This isn’t just a singular occurrence, either. It is good and pleasant to dwell in unity. To live there and make yourself comfortable there. To make unity your family home with a tire swing out front and marks on the doorpost where you measured the growth of your children.
This unity isn’t coming together for a photo op or combining resources only when disaster strikes. It isn’t retweeting your pastor to your followers, then badmouthing him to your friends. This is honest-to-goodness, thick and thin, good and bad, working together with Christ in us so that “they (we) may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:23)
What happens when we achieve this unity in the body? David gives us two effects of dwelling in unity.
Unity Leads to Holiness
The oil running down Aaron’s head in Psalm 133:2 paints a word picture of his consecration as priest. When Aaron and his descendants were consecrated with oil, they were set apart and made ready for service. Once they are anointed, they are able to fulfill their duties as priests.
Unity in the body has the same effect on Christians as anointing oil on Aaron. When we dwell in unity, we are able to fulfill God’s plan for us. We are able to “Go … and make disciples … and baptize … and teach.” (Matthew 28:19-20) Dwelling in unity sets us apart to fulfill God’s calling for us.
Unity Leads to Fruitfulness
The image in verse three is one of growth and fruitfulness. The idea is that the dew provides life-giving water during the dry season and produces bountiful crops. The dew is necessary for growth and provision. For Israel, this fruitfulness is a fulfillment of their covenant with God.
Likewise, unity in the Church leads to fruitfulness. That was Paul’s aim when he told the church in Ephesus, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)
When the body is working properly, each member doing its part, it grows and builds itself up in love. That’s fruitfulness: to grow the body in love into Christ, who is the head, so the world may know that He was sent by God who loves us.