Do me a favor and please read Psalm 133.
In this short song of ascents, as the people of God walk together towards the house of God David reflects on the joy that takes place when brothers and sisters live, work, play, and come together in unity. I imagine that David, as he walks with his brothers and sisters along this pilgrim journey to Jerusalem, that he is able to hear their laughter and tears as they share. That as he contemplates the journey maybe he overhears the hardships that people have had this last year but then hears the blessings of how a neighbor came and assisted them after the death of their loved one. That while maybe there were times when one felt alone the sisterhood and brotherhood of fellow believers always stepped up and not only helped but did life together. And ultimately? They all find peace as they come together to worship God.
The imagery we get from David here, with the oil flowing from Aaron’s head and onto his beard and then robe gets somewhat lost in our translation and imagery. How does oil flowing upon a nasty beard show unity (and I say “nasty” because I have a beard and I know how gross it CAN get – not that mine ever does or has)? And the dew of Hermon falling upon the mountains of Zion? How do those speak of joy of unity? Will it even help if we had some better imagery and understanding of what they were? Well – let’s find out.
Aaron, first off, was from the priesthood and they would not only anoint and consecrate the tent, burnt offerings, lamps, and all other decorations for God’s house but the priests themselves would be anointed with the oil and various spices (Ex 30:22-30). And why? Because they were made holy, set apart, consecrated, cleansed, and purified FOR God. They were his, his place, his people and they were marked as such. So when David brings up Aaron and the oil it’s because he, and the other priests, and the house of God were special. They were marked and set apart for God.
So what do we do with all this oil flowing? David is giving an image of not only having a little oil but a TON of it! He doesn’t only want the head but he wants the beard and the robe – all of him – to be drenched I God’s holiness. He’s saying that this precious oil should saturate all of Aaron. It should be poured on his head and drip down over his face and onto his beard then falling upon the collar of his robe. And what’s under his robe? The breastplate with the 12 tribes of Jerusalem on it. This is David’s way of saying that when God’s people gather together, from every tribe, from every tongue that declares the living God…it is so rich, good, pure, and precious that nothing compares to it. So just as Aaron and his priests were consecrated for God so too are all those when they gather together in worship.
The other part of David’s analogy is that of the dew of Hermon falling upon Mount Zion and in truth it works quite similarly to the oil over the head. Just as oil poured on the top of your head eventually flows down your face and body (a gravity thing) so too does the dew that comes down from Hermon as it falls upon Mount Zion. Does it matter that Herman is mentioned? From what I can see, it doesn’t (although Herman was considered the highest mountain in the region). The imagery we are to take away is that of the dew itself, and if you have ever walked across the grass on an early Spring morning then you know how wet it is with dew. The grass has been refreshed, fertilized, and invigorated.
So here’s what this all means: we are to worship TOGETHER. That when we gather under God’s name, when we sing and praise him and do life together, when we join in one voice and praise the Creator, Maker, Sustainer, Savior, Redeemer, and Lord IN EVERYTHING WE DO then something happens that doesn’t anywhere else.
- We give and receive brotherly and sisterly love (Heb 13:1)
- We are united as one (John 17:11)
- Jesus joins and is present with us (Matthew 18:20)
- We break bread together and do so in Jesus’ name (1 Cor 11:17-34)
- We join in fellowship with each other and thus with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (1 John 1:3)
- We are purified from our Sin as fellowship with God and each other enables us to walk in the light of Christ (1 John 1:7)
Ultimately? Our relationship with God is not about me – it’s about us. Ultimately? Christ didn’t die for me – he died for the church whom he called his bride (Ephes 5:22-33). So when we gather as a unified voice…God takes joy. Just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate and yet one, just as God created us as communal beings, just as we are created to love and worship God, and just as we declare that there is no place in our lives that God doesn’t work and the Holy Spirit isn’t present in – when we gather together we become one. We unite.
And guess what eternity is going to look like?! A unified voice of God’s gathered believers who will be consecrated, set apart, made holy, replenished, fed, and given eternal life-giving water from God. And what a joyous eternity it will be!