Friday, March 13, 2015

Unity & the Place of Commanded Blessing

Psalm 133 is a special passage for my family, especially the first verse. “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”

My Mom made me and my brother write this verse multiple times when we weren't getting along. Go figure! I’m not sure what we did to deserve such punishment but I’m pretty sure it was his fault.

Aside from getting two boys to live in peace, there is truth in this whole chapter that is powerful for the Body of Christ, especially the Church of Middle Georgia. This chapter is only three short verses but contains a powerful word for us as we pursue unity in the Body.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore. Ps 133:1-3 (NKJV)

Let’s look at that first verse more closely.
What would happen if we all used this verse as one of our filters when speaking about another ministry or Christian. Or before we “share” a prayer request…. or post on Facebook? I see some on social media, supposed believers, who foam at the mouth at the mention of certain TV ministers. It is almost as if they can’t help themselves, they HAVE to say something and it is in no way uplifting and encouraging. Unity in the body is something we all say we want but there is always that little nagging voice in the back of your head screaming, “Unless they do that… or believe that, or like that preacher.” It is easy in the broad sense to want unity but very difficult when we get down to the individual level. Unity is more important than you having your say, whether with your mouth or with your access to a computer.
Secondly, I want to look at a phrase in this verse. “Good & Pleasant”. It occurs to me that there is plenty in this life that is good, but not always pleasant. Taking nasty tasting medicine, getting a shot, eating your veggies… all of these are good, just not always pleasant. (I had a dream one night that someone handed me my brain and asked me which part I would like to lose. This was after I watched my mom separating cauliflower. I still can’t eat it.) Likewise, there are things that seem pleasant but not good… that super-sized brownie dessert, looking the other way while injustice is being done, or binge watching your favorite show on Netflix. These things may be pleasant for a while but are not good. This passage tells us that UNITY among the Body of Christ is both GOOD AND PLEASANT. The ultimate “having your cake and eating it too.”
In verse 2, we see unity likened to anointing oil. We know from our studies that oil is used to reference Holy Spirit.
Specifically, this oil is referring to the oil that was used in Exodus 30. God gave Moses the recipe for a very expensive blend of oil containing liquid myrrh, fragrant cinnamon, cane, cassia, and a gallon of olive oil. The were THE BEST SPICES. They were then used to anoint the tent, the ark, the table, the utensils and THE PRIESTS! It signified holiness. So much so that anyone who touched the utensils would be considered holy. These items and men were consecrated for a holy purpose. They were set apart. One of the things that should set the body of Christ apart is our unity. We are Consecrated for Unity.
There is another thing I see in this verse; notice that it references pouring the oil on the head and beard. But then it says that when they poured the oil on Aaron’s beard it also ran down onto his robe. I wonder if they had started skimping on the oil used to anoint the priests. Are we doing the same with our Five-fold ministry today? Are we expecting them to do a “down to the hem of the garment” ministry but only resourcing them for the head and beard?
Moving on to Verse 3 we see another result of unity, but we don’t really have a reference point to understand it. It mentions that unity among the brethren is like the dew of Mount Hermon falling on Mount Zion. First, let’s look at what dew does. It breaks the heat of the day. It brings moisture that is absorbed directly into plants giving immediate nourishment. We know that some areas are more humid others are more arid.  That is the picture being communicated here. I looked up the elevation of different areas and Breckenridge, CO is close to the same conditions as Hermon and Tucson, AZ is similar to Mount Zion (or Jerusalem.) Imagine if the moisture of Breckenridge were to suddenly appear in Tucson? Can you imagine the instant effects? The cool rush would be something akin to the ice bucket challenge. The long term effect would change the climate. It would change the soil conditions and what could be grown there. Unity is like that. It is a sudden burst of cool, moist air when you are hot and dry. It brings with it prosperity. When we, as the body of Christ begin to act in unity, it will affect our whole community.
The last part of verse 3 tells us that as we pursue unity among the brethren, God will command a blessing in that place. Imagine the impact of the Church reaching Middle Georgia for Jesus. The impact we can have together is much greater than if we waste time and energy tearing each other down. As we become God’s place of commanded blessing we will not only see spiritual revival, but an economic one as well. This should be tremendous motivation for us to pursue unity. As we begin to achieve this, we will see the Lord’s commanded blessing to come on our lives and impact the communities around us.

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