As we prepared for an evening of ministry led by a visiting Pastor, Jill sought the Lord for a special word as we finished our joint prayers. The Lord gave her Psalm 133.
“A Song of degrees; of David.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment on the head that ran down on the beard, Aaron’s beard, that went down to the mouth of his garments; like the dew of Hermon that came down on the mountains of Zion; for there Jehovah commanded the blessing, life forevermore.”
The Amplified Bible version is not much longer:
“A Song of Ascents. Of David.
BEHOLD, HOW good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment poured on the head, that ran down on the beard, even the beard of Aaron/ [the first high priest], that came down upon the collar and skirts of his garments [consecrating the whole body].
It is like the dew of [lofty] Mount Hermon and the dew that comes on the hills of Zion; for there the Lord has commanded the blessing, even life forevermore [upon the high and the lowly].”
Later, as the Pastor spoke, his words which the Lord gave him to teach on, were in total and exact alignment with Psalm 133 as he gave a vivid description of an Old Testament anointing. Truly, both words were from the Holy Spirit and they have stuck in my mind.
As I look at the Church of Christ on earth today, it is a divisive and dividing entity, and this grieves me deeply. As I look at individual churches, I am deeply grieved, for our Christian God is a God of order, not chaos; of unity, not dissent; of inclusion, not exclusion. Luckily for us, He is also a God of second chances, and third chances and fourth chances……. Yet we still turn our backs on Him, and prefer disunity and gossip, even within our Churches.
At Sunday lunch with three Pastors, the question was asked: what is a Christian? My simplistic answer to this question was this: A Christian is one who says grace before each meal. I acknowledge my answer is the lowest common denominator, rather than the highest common factor, but sadly, I believe, it effectively excludes most professing Christians as being “Christian.” In Luke 12:48, Jesus says: “… For to whomever much is given, of him much shall be required…. ” I admit it, Jesus is doing a lot for me – everyday. I know therefore, a lot is expected from me. As Christians, we need to ask ourselves daily: just what is required of us?
Jesus answers that in part in Matthew 25:34-41 saying:
“Then the King shall say to those on His right hand, Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.
Then the righteous shall answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, and fed You? Or thirsty, and gave You drink? When did we see You a stranger, and took You in? Or naked, and clothed You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and came to You?
And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you have done it to Me.
Then He also shall say to those on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.”
Those on the King’s left hand had not helped the stranger, had not fed the hungry, had not clothed the naked, had not visited prisoners, or had not visited the sick. As a result, they all went to hell. Now let’s face it here, they went to hell for not doing incredibly simple and easy things!
Jesus expects us also to do more challenging things as He explains in Matthew 7:21-23 saying:
“Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.
Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works?
And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!”
Where did those workers of lawlessness end up? The same place as those on the King’s left hand, in hell for eternity!
What had they done? Jesus says they were His followers with a strong prophetic anointing; they were His followers who had carried our deliverances in Jesus’s name, casting out demons; they were His followers who had done signs and wonders in Jesus’s name, but Jesus cast them out.
I wonder, when is the last time you prophesied publically; the last time you cast out a demon; the last time you did public signs and wonders in the name of Jesus?
Are prophecy, deliverance and signs and wonders greater or smaller in the eyes of God, than looking after strangers, visiting the sick, visiting prisoners, clothing the naked or feeding the hungry? Are they all greater or less than saying grace before a meal?
Some may read this and consider they have nothing to worry about because they’ve said the “sinner’s prayer” and reckon their salvation is assured. They thing that because they’ve “said the prayer,” the Jesus’s words from Matthew 25:34-41 and Matthew 7:21-23 simply don’t apply to them. To them, I say read Revelation 22:19 where it is clear that according to His will, “… God shall take away his part out of the book of life….” To take a name “out” of the Book of Life, means that the name must first have been “in” the book of Life in the first place, having achieved Salvation. Yes indeed, as Hebrews 10:31 warns: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
That said, let’s look back at Psalm 133, a Psalm of David; David, a man who knew the firsthand experience of being anointed for God as First Samuel 16:12-13 recalls:
“… And Jehovah said, ‘Arise, anoint him. For this is he.’
Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the spirit of Jehovah came on David from that day forward …”
The first word David speaks is Behold! This is an expression of wonderment, saying: Look! See! WOW – just look at that! David was looking at Unity and comparing it to anointing. Unity is of awesome stature!
What is anointing? It is to consecrate or to make sacred in a ceremony that includes the token applying of oil. It means to dedicate to the service of God. It is Godly and sacred, it is rare and highly to be sought after, it is special and not for everyone.
So when David says “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” He is comparing Unity to a uniquely holy and scared event, the anointing of Aaron. He is lifting up unity before God to the highest level to which we can aspire on earth.
This is how Aaron was anointed for God, as we read in Exodus 30:30-31
“And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them, so that they may minister to Me in the priest’s office. And you shall speak to the sons of Israel saying, This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations.”
and again in Exodus 40:13-15 we read of God saying:
“And you shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and sanctify him, so that he may minister to Me in the priest’s office. And you shall bring his sons and clothe them with tunics.
And you shall anoint them, even as you anointed their father, so that they may minister to Me in the priest’s office. For their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood for their generations.”
Aaron was the first of the Priests, and the Aaronic lineage extends until today. God saw Aaron as very important to His plans; David saw Unity just as important, as equivalent to the ceremonial oil anointing which symbolised the transfer of the power and authority of God, to a man.
David went on to describe the abundance of the oil anointing, as it poured from his head, down onto his beard and on to his garments, soaking them, like the dew of the mountains, until everything is saturated and coated with the anointing oil. The application of oil on Aaron was not a single drop on the head, but an overflowing deluge which covered him to his feet.
“It is like the precious ointment on the head that ran down on the beard, Aaron’s beard, that went down to the mouth of his garments; like the dew of Hermon that came down on the mountains of Zion …”
But we don’t need to go all the way back in the Bible to First Samuel to find an overflowing and super abundant anointing. In Mark 14:3-5 we read of the same happening to Jesus:
“And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as He reclined, a woman came with an alabaster vial of pure, costly ointment of spikenard. And she broke the vial and poured it on His head.
And some were indignant to themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and be given to the poor….”
We can see from the comments of the witnesses that this was indeed a liberal and zealous portion which the woman poured over Jesus’s head. John 12:3 says Mary took and used a pound of ointment of pure spikenard, which at today’s prices is worth many thousands of dollars. This gives us some practical measurement of the importance which David puts on Unity.
When we look at the last line of Psalm 133, we find what this unity, what this anointing, means for God; as David says:
“… for there Jehovah commanded the blessing, life forevermore.”
This is a pretty staggering blessing from unity, to have David equate it with “life forevermore.”
What can we conclude from this about unity? If we as Christians can live together in peace, love, concord and mutual agreement, not only in occasional meetings, but all through the course of our lives, then is indeed a great blessing which will result and is altogether very pleasing to our heavenly Father.
The finest model of unity which Christians have is in Christ. As Jesus says in John 17:21,
“… that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me”.
If we are in tune with Christ, we will be in tune with all His. While there may not always be oneness of view, there can always be oneness of spirit and object in Christ. But being out of unity with other Christians in view or in any way, really takes the gloss of the high expectations Jesus has for us. We may not be able to change the ways and minds of others, but we can change our own ways and our own minds! When we do that, and learn to align them with Jesus, then, and only then, will we be able to manifest the unity which David talks of in Psalm 133.