#51 Together In Unity

15 August 1999

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!'@-Psalms 133:1 This beautiful thought comes from David's pen as one of the "Songs of Degrees." These short psalms have been of special interest to the Lord's people throughout the ages. Some have referred to them as the "Gradual Psalms". There have been many ideas advanced as to their special title. According to some, there were fifteen steps by which the priests ascended into the temple and on each step they sang one of these fifteen psalms. Others have suggested that these psalms were sang by the masses as they approached the temple to worship and the title refers to the change in the pitch of the song as the congregation neared the temple.
How fitting a reminder and how beautiful would be the sound, as the great congregation journeyed toward the temple and lifted up their voices together and sang, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" The first word of this Psalm tells us that this is a Psalm of observation: "Behold!" When brethren dwell together in unity it is always a notable occasion, something special to stop and take notice A For the Psalmist to pen such words by inspiration must mean that it is also an occasion worthy of Jehovah's special attention. Surely, the unity of the "brethren" far surpasses any natural wonder of the world. This remains to be a "Spiritual Wonder". It is a place where the Lord, "Commanded the blessing."The seven natural wonders can not claim such a promise! Quite unlike the society in which we live; unlike the chaos we find when we observe the daily news; this is a scene of tranquility and bliss, "Behold, how good and how pleasant."
The word that David uses for "pleasant" is quite instructive. It is a word the Hebrews used to depict musical harmony. Like an orchestra playing a symphony. The melody and the rhythm are harmonious. There is a spectrum of sound: highs and lows; strings and woodwinds; each under the influence of one Conductor. Their gifts and their graces compliment one another. How pleasant a serenade for the "pilgrims" and a "strangers" of this world. Surely, such a place would inspire a second visit! Not only is such a place "pleasant", it is equally good. It is good for the people who dwell there; good for the cause of Christ; good for community where such a place is found; and good for our posterity, the future inhabitants of Zion. Behold such a place!
David's special word, "brethren", is short but sweet. It is a word that includes and excludes. It is suggestive of a family who have the same Father and the same Elder Brother, Jesus Christ who is their anointed High Priest. As we use this word, we not only refer to our spiritual relationship as the children of one spiritual Father, but as "kindred in Christ." The best blessings are reserved for the family! If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the two brief pictures given by David in this Psalm are worth two-thousand words. Briefly consider these two pictures which depict such a place as we have attempted to describe: LIKE THE PRECIOUS OINTMENT This precious ointment was the Holy anointing oil that God commanded Moses to compound according to the "art of the apothecary."This was God's precise formula which carried with it a sweet, distinct odor. It could not be compounded, used, or sold privately.The only place this fragrance could be enjoyed was within the walls of the sanctuary. From their earliest remembrance, the Hebrews were carried as tiny children to the temple and this special aroma carried with it many wonderful memories of pleasant times and experiences. It is known by those who study the science, that the olfactory gland is the first of our senses that we remember. These scents we attach to people, places and events. The hay in the meadow, the freshly cut lawn, the leaves of autumn, and the sweetness of spring all bring to remembrance the joys of days gone by. Where brethren "dwell together in unity" we will enjoy such a fragrance and store many a fond memory! As this holy oil was poured out, the sweet scent was noticed and appreciated from the least to the greatest. Just as the holy anointing oil produced a pleasant scent which permeated the temple to be enjoyed by all the same may be said for brethren who "dwell together in unity." AS THE DEW OF HERMON Being the highest of all mountains in Palestine, the snow on the mountain's cap condenses the vapors during the summer, so that abundant dews descend upon the lower mountains and surrounding plains. Therefore, when the outlying country is parched, there is moisture beneath Hermon because of her dew. The moisture that this mountain produces provides the best of all conditions for vegetation and plant life to thrive. David, the shepherd, was eyewitness to the scene. From the mountain's peak, David had surveyed his world around this great Hermon. The benefits of Hermon's dew was apparent. The farther David's eye traveled from her peaks, the more barren the terrain. How beautiful the picture. This place, where brethren "dwell together in unity", provides the best environment for His tender plants to grow and prosper. Though the world is a parched place, marrow and fatness is found "where brethren dwell together in unity". Lord, we thank thee for such a place! Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 each Sunday morning. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor