Tag Archives: Psalm 133

More on Brotherly Love

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“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down the beard, running down Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.

It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion, For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.  Psalm 133

If you’re part of a family, you know the truth of the Psalm above, and you know what the reverse feels like.  Family is wonderful when everyone is getting along and helping each other– it’s a blessing.  When the family quarrels bitterly, life becomes miserable.  Family members have the power to lift us up or tear us down.

In many places the Bible refers to the church in terms of family.  It is the “household” of God.  We are to treat older people as parents, honoring and respecting them.  We are to treat those of our own generation as brothers and sisters.  When a child is baptized into our congregation, we all take on the responsibility of raising them in the faith.

Unfortunately we don’t always take these “family” responsibilities seriously.  When we don’t agree with someone, or they are rude to us, we just leave, thinking we’ll find a more congenial group;  or we stay and gossip, forming cliques that divide and weaken the body of Christ.  When a brother or sister in Christ stops attending worship or Bible study, instead of calling them up to encourage them and see what’s wrong, we just shrug and say, “oh well” or maybe we think, “the Pastor should check in on them.” We don’t want to risk confrontation or unpleasantness.  When an older member can no longer drive, we consider our own convenience instead of offering them a ride to church.  When a job needs doing, we tell ourselves, we just don’t have the time or the money or the talent to help.

The list can go on and on, and we’re all guilty of neglecting God’s family at times.  It’s true no individual can do everything– but we can all do something, and we should prayerfully consider what it is God wants us to do right now — at this time, in this place, with the family He has given us.

“Let brotherly love continue.”  Hebrews 13:1

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Dwelling In Unity

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“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

It is like the precious oil on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down the collar of his robes!

It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!

For there the Lord has commanded the blessing. life forevermore.”

Psalm 133

I’ve always loved this Psalm.  It is one of the “Songs of Ascent”  thought to be sung as pilgrims ascended to the temple during Jewish festivals.  It rejoices in the blessings of God and family.

There is nothing that contributes more to our happiness than living contentedly with those around us;  and nothing more miserable than being surrounded by discord and disagreement.  This is so obvious that it astounds me to realize how often we spend our time (whoops, back to last month’s theme) being aggrieved and angry with people.

The Bible gives much good advice on getting along with one another.  We like to think that “those others” are just difficult, but guess what?  The burden of getting along  rests with you and me, and with controlling our own, often selfish, behavior.  In Romans, Paul tells us:

“If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.”  Romans 12:18

Now comes what I call the YBH question (yes, but how?)  Well we can ….

“Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”  Romans 12:15

“Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be conceited.”  Romans 12:16

“Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:9

“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:13

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to what is honorable in the sight of all.”  Romans 12:17

Most of all,

“Let love be genuine …Love one another with brotherly affection.”  Romans 12:9-10

Whenever there is a lack of harmony, I need to ask myself, “what is my part in this?”  Do I love others, all others as children of God, and therefore my siblings? (or do I consider some of them not worthy of my interest, not as “good” as I am) Am I sincerely happy when things go well for them, and sad when they don’t (or am I secretly envious when they do well, and gloating when they fail?).  Do I try to build others up, giving them honor and credit? (or do I tear them down behind their backs?)  Do I bear patiently with the faults of others? (or do I lash out when they do something wrong?) Am I quick to offer help? (or do I want to keep my time and money for myself?)  Is my love for others genuine (or just lip service?)

Of course, admitting and working on my own faults is difficult–but the reward is peace with God and others.  Isn’t that worth the price?  What do you think, readers?