With 150 psalms in Israel’s hymnbook, it is easy to imagine that the majority of them focus on the object of our worship. While that is true to some extent, many of the psalms also describe the method of our worship or the character of our worship. Psalm 133 is a short psalm that describes an integral component of our worship more than it does the one we worship.
“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” (Ps 133:1-3).
I have always loved the first verse because I understood it. For years, I would neglect the reading and teaching of verses 2-3 because I honestly couldn’t comprehend them. What does unity have to do with oil dripping from a dead priest’s beard and dew coming from a mountain top? When I finally understood what these verses meant, the first verse became all the more significant.
What Aaron’s Beard Has to Do With Unity
It is a very good and a very pleasant thing when God’s people dwell together in unity (Ps 133:1). This type of unity is beneficial and agreeable to all. As the people of God unite, they compliment one another but were never intended to clone one another.
So how does Aaron fit in this picture of unity? Aaron served as the first high priest of Israel and started a succession of levitical priests that would come from his family (Ex 28:1; Num 18:7). Primarily, the high priest directed the corporate worship of God among the people of God. In order to do that well, he had to maintain holy conduct (Lev 21:6-8). He was responsible for overseeing the entire priestly community (2 Chron 19:11). Oftentimes, the people would seek the high priest to discern the will of God (Num 27:21) and trust in his ability to prophesy correctly (John 11:51).
To prepare Aaron and his family for their worship leading tasks, they had to be anointed. By utilizing the best of resources (Ex 30:22), a sacred anointing oil was to be blended (Ex 30:25) for the purpose of consecrating the priests for their service (Ex 30:30). This type of anointing oil was not meant for the ordinary person. In fact, it was supposed to be kept holy for this purpose in order to consecrate these worship leaders to holiness (Ex 30:32).
Unity qualifies us for ministry.
If the oil was not meant for the average worshiper but designated for the worship leader, then it confirmed priestly status. In writing Psalm 133, King David connected the anointing oil to be a symbol of the unity among these worship leaders. As it poured onto Aaron’s head, it flowed onto his beard, and dripped onto his robes (Ps 133:2). This type of unity is a qualifying, all-encompassing, overflowing essential for the worship leader.
If the worship leader is supposed to unite people together to point them to the LORD, how could he not be united with those he served beside?
What Mount Hermon Has to Do With Unity
What about the dew of Hermon? Being the highest mountain peak in the region, Mount Hermon towered over other mountains around it. Being a standard higher than all the rest, the surrounding mountains and areas benefitted from the refreshing dew that would fall from its peak (Ps 133:3). Unity does not intend for all the tallest mountains to shrink and the smallest mountains to grow. Unity does not mean uniformity but conformity.
Blessings will flow to all when they unite to one thing rather than one another. For when you unite to one thing, you naturally unite to one another. We all begin to sing the same pitch. With one voice, we begin to glorify our Lord (Rom 15:6). We maintain the unity given to us by the Spirit (Eph 4:3), and we are able to stand firm in one spirit with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel (Phil 1:27).
Unity is found not in looking at one another but looking together at one thing.
If you are trying to serve God but cannot serve him alongside others, you’ve got a dilemma that must be worked out. Unity qualifies us for ministry. Our Father wants his children to get along. Maybe the greatest thing you can do today to display your allegiance to your God is by humbling yourself among his servants.