Saturday, March 11, 2017


March 11, 2017

A Song of Ascents. Of David.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
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.

As the title has it, this psalm (133) was one of the songs the children of Israel would sing as they ascended the slopes of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. We don't know the tune, but we do know that the unity of God's people is foundational to corporate worship. I've been in worship services when there was discord, and it is anything but worshipful. Jesus' last recorded prayer other than his words on the cross were that we would be one just as he and his Father are one; in other words, that there be a unity of purpose at the very heart of who we are. Jesus yielded his own will to that of his Heavenly Father as a sign of that unity he desires for us.

Unity is not the same as uniformity. God doesn't demand that we think and act alike, but he does expect that we will grow in maturity of love so that people will be drawn to Christ (Ephesians 4:13). That unity of love has a fragrance that is naturally attractive, and has the additional benefit of commanding a blessing from God.

Today, Linda and I have had this very experience as our daughter's book agent has visited us. Steve is a delightfully genuine man who loves putting people together for their mutual success. He is also a Christian. In the few short hours we've been together, we've talked about all sorts of things, and in the process experienced David's sweet-smelling oil saturating our conversations. To meet someone from the other side of our country and be able to fellowship like people who have known and respected each other for years is testimony to the power of this spiritual unity.

When I first met Linda nearly fifty years ago, she hit me with a saying: "Love me, love my dog." Well, that dog is long gone, but I still love her, and with just a little editing, that quip gets to the heart of this stuff we call Christian unity. Steve and I can talk like old friends because we both are old friends with a common Savior, Jesus Christ. Anyone who loves him is a friend of mine, and I am grateful tonight for this old/new friendship that fills the air with the sweet-smelling fragrance of Christ.

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