That they may be perfected in unity
Psalm 133 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
The Excellency of Brotherly Unity. A Song of Ascents, of David.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.
The psalmist equates brotherly unity with eternal life. Yet from the beginning, we see time after time that unity among brothers is not always the reality. When there were just two brothers, in Genesis 4:2-8 it says: Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. The sons of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac were bitter rivals. The lack of unity between them carries through even to today. Isaac’s sons Esau and Jacob were also at odds with each other. Jacob deceived Esau to take his birthright, then deceived his father to steal Esau’s blessing. Jacob’s sons sold their younger brother Joseph into slavery in Egypt. David’s brothers looked down on him and were angry with him for presuming that he could go up and fight against Goliath. The sons of David were bitter rivals with each other, contending for their father’s throne.
In Mark 3:20-21 it says: Jesus went home, and once again a crowd gathered, so that He and His disciples could not even eat. When His family heard about this, they went out to take custody of Him, saying, “He is out of His mind.” In Matthew 10:21-22 Jesus says: “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” In John 13:34-35 Jesus says: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” We, as Jesus disciples are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are commanded to love one another. Our lack of love and unity for each other is part of why the world does not respond to the church. They do not know that we are disciples of Christ because of our lack of unity. We are to be a community of believers. The word community is derived from the combination of the words common and unity. Rather than focusing on the things that we disagree over, we need to focus on the common unity that we have in Christ; that He died for each one; that within each one who has believed and been redeemed, dwells the same Holy Spirit. Jesus taught us to pray saying: Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We’ve seen the examples that there is often not unity among brothers on earth, but we are called to have heaven as our example. In John 17:22-26, on the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested, He prayed for us. The end of His prayer says: “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” Amen.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever. Amen.