Psalm 133: Family

Not very often so far in this journey through the Bible have I had opportunity to comment on an entire reading in one day…until today. One Psalm, three verses. You may be tempted to say “Sweet, a two second scripture reading and I’m off to the races for the day.” Common, admit it, that’s what some of you did.

But instead of flying through these three verses, this is a great opportunity to really sit and ponder the Word and let the Holy Spirit speak to you. It is also a great opportunity to maybe memorize a short piece of scripture.

The point of this Psalm is pretty plain and straightforward: it is good and pleasant when there is unity among family. David uses the word “brothers” here which is appropriate. This Psalm is among a group of Psalms called the “Songs of ascent”.  These were songs that were sung as people made their way up to Jerusalem to worship. They were intended to be a help in preparation for worship in the temple, songs of reflection, guidance and praise. They talk about everything from how good it is to worship, to right personal relationships, and what to praise God for. The journey to Jerusalem to worship and offer sacrifices happened in family units, so David is writing specifically about the gathering of family to worship together, and how good it is when that happens.

This gathering as a family applies to the modern believer and the the modern church as well. It is pleasant and good for us to be in unity with one another. One interesting thing to note is that unity does not mean uniformity. God does not want us to be the same across the board. What he desires for us is harmony in the midst of our diversity. Paul paints the picture that it is diversity that makes up the human body, each part different than the rest. So it is with the family of Christ.

The picture of anointing oil is strange to us, but basically the picture is exactly as David paints it. Oil was used to anoint people to special use by God. The oil was liberally poured over the person’s head, so much so that it ran down the face and onto the clothes. In this way, the goodness and pleasantness of living together spreads, bringing blessings to the entire family.  The second picture David paint is of dew that comes in the night to refresh and revitalize the earth. It is the same when we are part of the family of believers.

Finally, David reminds us that the very blessing of God is poured out on the family where there is unity. It is among united brothers and sisters in Christ that God pours out the full experience of his grace.

A beautiful picture, and very much one to ponder when considering why it is so important for us to gather as a family of believers on a regular basis!

Happy reading

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture?  What was something I already knew?
  • What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  • How does this passage apply to my life, here and now?  Do I need to do anything about it?
  • What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalm 106-107

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