Precious oil, Psalm 133

Last evening some families from our church parish gathered at our house for a meal, fellowship, and prayer. We prayed especially for our church and the members of our parish who were not able to attend.  The fellowship was precious.

This morning I see that in God’s amazing providence the next “Psalm of Ascent” for my reflection on this blog is Psalm 133.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, David writes:

1Behold, how good and pleasant it is
   when brothers dwell in unity!
2It is like the precious oil on the head,
   running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
   running down on the collar of his robes!
3It is like the dew of Hermon,
   which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the LORD has commanded the blessing,
   life forevermore (ESV).

David compares the beauty of unity in the Lord to precious oil and desert dew.

Aaron was the brother of Moses who became the high priest for the people of Israel after their exodus from Egypt. David’s descriptive word picture helps us envision the Old Testament practice of anointing a priest’s head so liberally that oil runs down his beard on the front of his face and under the collar of his robe at the back of his neck.

David lived long after Aaron and never saw him anointed, but he witnessed the anointing of later priests. David himself was anointed by Samuel to be the king of Israel after Saul. His first-hand experience with the practice enables him to write so descriptively about it.

The reference to Aaron isn’t limited to that first high priest, but represents all the subsequent high priests until the coming of Jesus, the ultimate high priest of a better covenant (Hebrews 8).

David spent enough time fleeing for his life in the desert to understand the value of water and appreciate its beauty in nature. The dew that fell on the slopes of Mt. Herman may have been beautiful as it sparkled in the rising sun, but it also provided life-giving moisture.

In this two-picture comparison, David links true unity to Christ. The beauty of brotherhood flows only from him, like precious oil on a priest’s robe or morning dew on a desert mountain.

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