Singing the Songs of Zion

Get Together - Psalm 133
Singing the Songs of Zion
Get Together
Psalm 133
 
In the middle of all the civil and political unrest of the 1960’s, a song was recorded by the Kingston Trio under the title, “Let's Get Together” with moderate success. 
 
Then in 1967, The Youngbloods released their version of the song under the title "Get Together". It became a minor Hot 100 hit for them, peaking at #62 and reaching #37 on the US adult contemporary chart.
 
Interestingly enough, the song reached its greatest popularity when the National Conference of Christians and Jews used in a radio public service announcement as a call for brotherhood.  The best–remembered version was the one re-released by the Youngbloods in 1969 when it peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
 
The lyrics are:
 
Love is but a song to sing
Fear's the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why
 
Some may come and some may go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment's sunlight
Fading in the grass
If you hear the song I sing
You will understand (listen!)
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It's there at your command
 
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now
 
In a word, the message of that song is unity.  It was introduced into a society that was torn by racism, division over the war in Viet Nam, political suspicions, conspiracy theories and women’s rights.
 
And in simple lyrics, a call went out for unity.  If only the solution were that simple.  Unfortunately, here we are, 50 years later and the nation is more divided than ever. And still the cry goes out for us to all get together.
 
That is also a pressing need in the church and it is the central subject of the 133rd Psalm.  It’s a very short Psalm, only three verses long.  But it contains a powerful message regarding unity in the body of Christ.
 
Psalm 133:1-3
 
The significance of the unrest and division around us underlines the significance of what we read in this Psalm.  I believe it to be the design of God that the church should look so different from the world that it grabs their attention. 
There is so much disharmony and fighting in the world, if they could just see a place where we all “get together and try to love one another”, then that place would be like a magnet to those who’ve never experienced that kind of unity. 
 
That is the design of the church.  And here we find an Old Testament encouragement to develop that kind of drawing power. 
 
The first thing you see in this psalm is
 
  1. The Beauty of Unity
 
Verse 1
 
Notice how David begins the psalm.  He uses the word “Behold”. The idea is to take a look, observe, see, drink it in. That means there is something beautiful, something worth seeing when “brethren dwell together in unity”. David says to his hearers, “There is something beautiful here that I want you to see.” So what is it? Why is unity so beautiful?
 
Well, let me suggest three things.  First, it’s beautiful because it is
 
 
Listen to what we read in John 17:21
 
Now why would Jesus pray something like that?  Why is the unity of the church on His prayer list? 
 
Well, Jesus said when we're one, when the church gets along with one another, then unbelievers will become believers.   That means evangelism takes place.
Did you know that one of the greatest advertisements we have for the Lord Jesus to a lost and dying world is our unity in Christ? When an unsaved man comes into this church he says there's something different about these people. 
 
I had that happen just a a couple of weeks ago as a I led a young man to the Lord and he talked about how he felt and what he experienced when he came to church. Now he didn’t know it and I didn’t expect him to know it, but what he experienced was the very Spirit of God as he came to a place where the pole of God met in unity. 
 
And that unity, that love and oneness is a witness to an unsaved man that Jesus Christ is real and that is the desire of the Savior. The Lord Jesus desires us to be one.
 
Not only that, when brethren are dwelling together in unity, not only is it the desire of the savior, it is beautiful because it is
 
 
There is nothing on earth more pleasant than Christian fellowship. Nothing else in the world is closer to heaven than being together with the family of God. I know some preachers who think the church services ought to be quiet and dignified and solemn. 
 
Bailey Smith used to tell about his first visit to First Southern Baptist Church in Del City and how he sat on the stage before the morning worship service and it was so noisy and people were laughing and talking and visiting. 
 
And he thought, “We’re going to have to do something about this. People need to be worshipful and quiet.”  And he said the Spirit of God said, “Bailey, if you put a stop to this you will destroy the spirit and life of this church.” 
 
I like to come in and hear people chattering and talking and laughing and visiting because we're meeting our brothers and sisters in Christ.  It's family! We’re home and we’re glad to see one another. We're having a good time! And there's nothing wrong with that!  David says, “It’s good and it’s pleasant when folks get along with one another!”
 
And I'm not saying that it has to be a three ring circus all the time.  Obviously there is a time to be quiet and reverent and pay attention and listen.  But when we come together as the church, there ought to be some joy and happiness and cordiality. It's good and it's pleasant when brethren dwell together in unity and to have that fellowship that belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
It’s a beautiful thing!  It is the desire of the Savior, it is the delight of the saints and I tell you something else:  it is
 
 
Satan does not like for God's people to be together and I'll tell you why.  When we're together, there is an awesome power. Do you ever read Peanuts in the funny paper? One time Lucy came in and Linus was lying there watching television. 
 
Lucy says, “Change the channel.”
 
Linus says, “Give me one good reason to change the channel.”
 
She says, “I’ll give you five of them” and she holds up her five fingers.  Then she said, “Individually they're not much, but when I curl them together like this, they are an awesome power to behold.”
 
Linus said, “Which channel do you want?”  Then he looked at his fingers and said, “Why can't you guys get together like that?”
 
I want you to know when God's people get together there is a power that is awesome to behold and the devil doesn't like it. That’s the reason the Bible says that the devil loves to sow discord among the brethren.  But it’s also why we read, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
 
That is the beauty of unity.  Then think about
 
2. The Basis of Unity
 
So what is it that unifies us and creates this beauty?  There are three things both implied and stated in the text.  First, we are united by
 
 
Notice David says it is good for “brethren” to live together in unity. Brothers are those who have a common birth. And as believers, we have a common father and therefore we have a common family.  And it is that family relationship that provides the setting for this unity. 
 
By the way, maybe it would be helpful to define unity.  What is unity? Well it helps to see what it isn’t. Unity is not the same as unison. When the choir sings, they don’t sing in unison. They sing in harmony. That means different sections of the choir are singing a different note from the music. They are singing together, in unity, but they are not singing in unison. 
 
That’s true in the church also. We all don't have to sing the same note. As a matter of fact, God puts different members in the body and we don't have to all be just alike to have unity. SO it’s not union. 
 
Neither is it
 
 
Do you know the difference between unity and uniformity? Uniformity comes from pressure from without, unity comes from life within. Being a follower of Christ dwelling together in unity, doesn’t mean everyone is squeezed into the same mold. 
 
It’s also not
 
 
Unity and union are not the same. You can be in union and not have unity. Want proof? Tie the tails of two cats together and throw them over a clothesline.  You’ve got union, but you’re a long way from unity!  There are churches all over the country that are testimony to the fact that two people can be members of the same church and not get along
 
 
 
Unity comes through a shared life and that life comes through a common birth. In other words, every child of God gets born the same way. We all come from the womb of grace. And that is the beginning point of unity.  We share a common birth. 
 
But it’s more than that.  Not only do we share a common birth, we have 
 
 
Verse 2
 
So who was Aaron? We’ll look at the significance of all this in a moment, but let me just explain the picture first. Aaron was the high priest in the Old Testament and this oil that was poured upon him is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.
 
So if the oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit, then who does Aaron represent? He represents the Lord Jesus. Just like every priest in the Old Testament, he is a picture and a type and a prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ who is our great high priest.
 
So the oil represents the Holy Spirit and Aaron represents Jesus, and in particular, it is the head of Aaron that shows us Jesus. That means the body of Aaron would represent the church.  And as members of that body, our unity is found in being members of that one body.
 
Listen to how Paul explained it to the Corinthians.  
 
1 Corinthians 12:12
 
 
That’s what we see here in verses 2. Because we have a common birth we have One Spirit and because we are members of Jesus we're members of one body.
 
By the way, did you know the Bible never uses the word “saint” in the singular?  It’s always saints.  Why is that? It is because we are in it together.  We are members of one body. We've been baptized by the Holy Spirit in one body.
 
That's the reason you cannot function for Jesus apart from the church as you ought.  In fact, it is rather grotesque to think about a body part functioning separate from the body. That’s the stuff horror movies are mode from. 
 
Consider my hand. My hand functions as a part of my body, and there is nothing offensive about that.  That’s normal and expected. 
 
But if I were to chop it off and lie it out here on the communion table and it was moving and grasping and pointing, that would be grotesque. Blood would be squirting and that would really be gross. See, my hand can’t function apart from the body. 
 
And yet some are audacious enough to believe they will go serve the Lord and do His work separate fromt eh church. No you won’t. It is a gross perversion of what God intended. You can’t function as God intended apart from the body.  And by the way, it is only when the church is together that we see a complete representation of Christ.   
 
That’s the reason we need to come to church because as we're here together, united together we see the body as our Lord intended our body to be.
The body is to be coordinated and functioning in unity. 
 
We have a common birth, we're brethren.  We're in a common body, Aaron's body pictures that.  And number three, we have 
 
 
Notice verse 2 again
 
So what is the precious oil? It was a special ointment that God told the people how to make in the Old Testament. He gave them a specific recipe and allowed no substitutions.  It had to be
 
 
This ointment was made of myrrh, cinnamon and sweet calamus. God told them the exact amounts and measurements to use, and then specified the amount of oil to mix in. And again, it was not to be substituted or imitated in any way. 
 
Now remember, this oil was representative of the Holy Spirit and that tells us there is no substitute for God’s Spirit. When it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit, nothing less than the real thing will do. Not only was it genuine, it was
 
 
Notice the anointing started on the head. The head of Aaron points us to Jesus Christ.  But it didn’t just cover his head, it dripped off his beard and ran all the way to the hem of his garment. So think about that:  What that means is when the head was anointed, the body was anointed.
So what? That means the anointing that was upon the Lord Jesus Christ is to be upon his body, the church.
 
The anointing was upon the head so that we have the mind of Christ.  The anointing was also upon the heart. Where did it drip off the beard? Right there at the heart.  So not only do we have the mind of Christ, we have the emotion of Christ to love. 
 
Then the anointing goes all the way down to the feet, the hem of the garment, and we could say that represents the will of Christ so that we go where He would go. You see, every part of the body is involved.
 
It was a genuine anointing.  It was generous anointing.  And it was
 
 
When Aaron would come near you'd smell the aroma of that oil. And it is the aroma of the oil of the Holy Spirit that is to be on us every time we meet. In fact, I can smell it in the air right now.  Can’t you? 
 
That’s why David said it is good and pleasant when God’s people gather in unity and the thing that comes to his mind is the fragrance of the oil as Aaron came around. 
 
That's what he means!  It smells good when you get around God’s folks!  We have this unity that comes as a result of a common birth, a common body and a common blessing.
 
 
 
 
There is one more thing in this psalm I want you to see.  We’ve talked about the beauty and the basis of our unity. Now let’s think about
 
3. The Blessing of Unity
 
verse 3
 
Herman is a mountain north of Israel, and it is the tallest mountain in the area at 9,000 feet. And I looked for all kinds of spiritual and scriptural significance to share with you about Hermon.  But I couldn’t find anything. 
 
Some believe Mt. Hermon was the mountain where the transfiguration took place, and that may be. But I still couldn’t make that work with this plea for unity. 
 
Then I realize, the emphasis in the verse is not so much on the mountain, but on the dew. And notice, David references the dew on Mt. Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion. 
 
Well, that was impossible physically and geographically because Mount Hermon was over 100 miles northeast of Jerusalem.  In fact, it would be a miracle for the dews of Hermon to reach the mountains of Zion. 
 
And that is exactly what is pictured in these two illustrations.  Psalm 133 is telling us that brothers can only dwell in unity when something happens that is from above them.  We can’t work it out by ourselves.  We can’t just “get together” and everything will be fine.  Unity is not about a horizontal relationship, but a vertical one.
 
And both of these images, the oil running down from Aaron’s head and the dew coming from the 9,000 foot peak of Hermon, anticipate the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, a day which pictured the unity of believers in the Church. We are reminded that this unity is ultimately of gift of God that He grants through the work of His Spirit.
 
And God says this unity, brought about by the Holy Spirit, is like dew. So what do dew do?” I've been thinking about that. Why does David use this particular word picture to describe unity?
 
Maybe it would help to think about how dew comes
 
First, it comes
 
 
When you get up in the morning and go out or look out, the beauty is just overwhelming. Everything seems so soft and green and velvety as the dew lends its beauty to creation. It's fresh every morning.  It’s never stale. It comes sweetly. It also comes
 
 
There is a mystery to the dew. You’ll never hear it make its entrance Does the dew rise or fall? Does it  come up or does the dew come down?  Where does the dew come from?
 
Well, it's actually in the air but it distills when conditions reach the dew point and David says unity is like that.  You can’t work it up or produce it on its own.  Conditions have to be just right and it happens. 
Dew also comes
 
 
It doesn't come with a bang or with a thunder.  It’s not like the flashing of the lightening that brings the rain. It just silently distills in the air and it is there upon the ground.  Unity is like that also.  You don't work it up.  It’s not generated with cheerleader enthusiasm.  You can't enforce it.  You can't make it come.
 
Haven't you been around when God's dew just distills around the congregation?  When God's dew just distills on a prayer meeting?  When like the freshness of the morning just out of the atmosphere, when the dew point is reached, it comes so sweetly, it comes so secretly, it comes so silently, and it comes
 
 
When conditions are right you can't stop it, and anything in the field is going to come away wet.  That is what God says unity is like. That’s how it comes. 
 
So what does it do
 
Did you know when this was written and even today much of the farming in the land of Israel is what we call dry farming.  In some areas, irrigation isn’t necessary because the dew is enough to produce crops. 
 
That tells me the dew brings fruitfulness
 
I believe with all of my heart that we're going to see souls saved and were going to see the church grow when we have that fellowship, when the dew of Herman is upon the church. Finally, I want you to think about
 
Where It Goes.   
 
You know, when the sun rises, the dew goes home.   Did you know one of these days the Son of Righteousness, the Lord Jesus, will come with healing in his wings. And when the Lord Jesus comes, the dew is going to say bye, bye. 
 
The Son is coming and I am going home.  And when we're caught up to meet the Lord Jesus in the air, won’t you be glad that you learned how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity? 
 
Let’s pray