Talking about unity is much easier than attaining it. Because of its strenuous challenges, far too many people choose to think of unity as “agreeing to disagree”. This is NOT a Scripturally accurate conception or definition.
Jesus’ longest recorded prayer gave the standard of unity for His disciples. It is “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us…that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one” (John 17:21-23). No wonder David exclaimed, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
For several years in his adult life, David personally experienced the horrors of living in a kingdom which was not united. As King Saul self-destructed, David knew firsthand how evil and unpleasant it was when brethren had divided allegiances. How he longed for better.
Two similes are used in Psalm 133 to illustrate the blessedness and pleasantness of unity. Here, David’s inspired quill writes, “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. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forevermore” (vv. 2-3).
The holy, fragrant, and unique blend of myrrh, cinnamon, cane, cassia, and olive oil that was used to sanctify the most holy items of the tabernacle and its priests (cf. Exodus 30:22-33) is used to picture the holy and unique blessing of God called unity. Both are most exquisite and distinctive commodities. Like the precious oil used by Aaron and his sons, unity ought to be supremely esteemed.
The cool, refreshing renewing dew of Mount Hermon with its pristine purity and sweet, blessed influence is the second simile used for unity. Jesus spoke explicitly in John 17 about this wondrous aspect of unity: “that the world may believe that You sent Me…that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (vv. 21, 23). Because of such disunity among those who claim to be followers of Christ, our world is like the scorched, barren surface of a parched desert instead of a vibrant, refreshed, dew-covered valley.
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).