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Sunday, December 4, 2016 pm                                            Psalms Index

 

HOW GOOD AND PLEASANT IT IS
Psalm 133

 Tonight we examine another of the psalms of ascents – a group of 15 psalms (120-134) believed to be sung as Jews made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem for various feasts.  We have noted 13 of these psalms and seen how they relate to Jerusalem (Zion) in various ways.  Together they show the reverent disposition of the godly who genuinely sought to serve God as they sung these hymns.   

This psalm is attributed to David.  One who would have understood the bitterness and distress of division in contrast with the pleasantness of unity. 

 I.                     How good and pleasant –

a.       Here the psalmist emphasizes the blessedness of godly unity.

b.       We appreciate that which is good and pleasant.   There are many things that possess one quality or the other.  There are things that are good, but not pleasant – sometimes healthy living is the most pleasant way – involving sacrifice, etc.  Medicine is good, but not always pleasant.
Other things are pleasant – sweets, the things we enjoy – but not good for us.
That which is both good and pleasant is not so common. 

c.        Furthermore, good as used here is a word that means having desirable or positive qualities.  Pleasant, agreeable, good.  This is the word used throughout Genesis 1, “And God saw that it was good.”  Anything God creates IS good!  Be reminded that in the New Testament, Jesus addressed only God as being good – Matthew 19:17.  Also see Romans 5:7 where the word is descriptive of things greater than mere righteousness (just doing enough). 
Pleasant – something that brings pleasure because it is acceptable.    Psalm 135:3, Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant. 
Psalm 147:1, Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

d.       What is good and pleasant? 
Godly unity is both good AND pleasant. In every way, this can said!
As Christians we should meditate on the qualities that promote this unity – pleasant and good qualities.  See Philippians 4:8 – meditate on these things;
Galatians 5:22-23 – against such there is no law.  Such things are pleasant AND good. 
James 3:17-18 – the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.  Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

 II.                   For brethren to dwell together in unity –

a.       There are many examples of division in scripture – from Cain and Abel (Genesis 3), Jacob and Esau, Saul and David, Israel and Judah.  Consider the strife present in each of these examples.  
Is it any wonder why we should strive for peace – the absence of strife?

b.       Unity is a goal to be achieved - As Christians, the New Testament emphasizes unity

                                                   i.      By this all will know we are His disciples – if we have love.  John 13:34-35.  When we love we will be united.

                                                 ii.      Ephesians 4:1-3 – a walk worthy of our calling – endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace

                                                iii.      John 17:20-21 – that they all may be one

                                                iv.      Being united makes our worship pleasant!  In fact it is intended to bring us together – singing together, partaking of Lord’s Supper together, etc.

c.        Furthermore, we are brethren – a body, joined and fit together – Ephesians 4:16, Romans 12:4-5, cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.  We together are the family of God and ought to act like it.
Consider Genesis 13:7 when the herdsmen of Abram and Lot were at strife.  Note how Abram seeks a solution saying, So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.”  Being brethren ought to be a motivator to do good. 

d.       Consider how these feasts were intended to bring the nation of Israel together – a reminder that they are brethren.  A time to together worship God in unison.

 III.                 It is like precious oil upon the head (vs. 2)

a.       A description of the anointing of the High Priest.    Exodus 29:7 – instructions for Aaron and his sons to be consecrated.  Leviticus 8:12 – they are anointed.  The oil was abundantly poured on the head and flowed down. 

b.       Think of the ceremony of anointing a high priest (or a king).  When the right person is anointed, it is typically a good day with rejoicing.  A celebration. 

c.        Also, when you consider that a priest, through sacrifices produced unity between God and the nation – it brings thoughts of pleasant and good things.

d.       There is a preciousness in knowing that our sins are forgiven – Romans 4:7, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered;” 
Ephesians 1:3, 7 – blessings in Him, including the forgiveness of sins.
John was able to write to these brethren, “because your sins are forgiven” (1 John 2:12)

e.       And when we are brethren united, there ought to be that same pleasantness.

 IV.                 It is like the dew of Hermon (3)–

a.       Hermon was a mountain range that was part of the northern border of Israel, as Joshua conquered the land.   As with many mountains, perhaps it was a source of water leading into the Jordan region and valleys. 
Our text mentions the dew of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion (in the region of Jerusalem).  Provisions “from above” if you will. 
NOTE: While Mt. Hermon was about 100 miles north of Jerusalem, still the city and valley in some way benefited from its sources.   

b.       The picture of this dew on the mountains to me is the quiet of the morning in contrast to the business of a hectic day that is about to begin.  We treasure those times of peace and solitude and we seek to collect our thoughts for the day.  It is a country valley surrounded by lush, green mountains that is pleasant.  (I think of an early morning in Cades Cove in the Great Smokey Mountains).  A beautiful, serene place.

c.        True unity gives us this type of peace and tranquility!  There is a pleasantness to brethren who are glad to see one another and who are in agreement. 
When we are truly the body of Christ, we will anticipate coming together to worship Him. 

 V.                   The Lord commanded the blessing

a.       As I notice this verse, the application is a challenge to understand.  But here are some thoughts.

b.       This is a COMMAND! 

                                                   i.      The word could describe a command TO them – certainly, it was the LORD’S desire that Israel be united with one another and through His precepts. 
For us – i.e. Unity is commanded as well -  Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:10. 

                                                 ii.      Here, it seems to describe God commanding His will to be accomplished.   
He is in control.  When He speaks it happens – Jeremiah 32:27, “Is there anything too hard for Me? 
Luke 18:27, Things impossible with man are possible with God.
Hebrews 11:3  - by faith we understand the worlds were created…
2 Peter 3:5-7, etc.

                                                iii.      It was in Zion where Israel would come together – this place was His choice as well

c.        This is a blessing from the LORD – the word implies something that endues us with power for success, prosperity, and longevity (cf. TWOT). 
God commands that we be united – but it is not without reward.  In fact, the blessings that accompany unity are from the Lord Himself – Again one might say that He knows what He is doing. 

d.       Life forevermore – this is the blessing He has commanded.  It is also a blessing of genuine unity based upon His will.  
It leads to life – Psalm 16:11, You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 23:6, “I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever more.”

For us - unity builds us up and makes us stronger.  Seldom does a unified body of the Lord’s people perish.  But strife and division will destroy her speedily.
There is also the eternal reward as we obey His will -  why are we striving for unity – that we may spend eternity together, with Him and with one another.
1 John 2:25 – this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life.

Philippians 3:14-16, begins with Paul’s pressing to the goal for the prize (his eternal reward) – but notice vs. 15-16 – don’t keep this to yourself!  As many as are mature, have this mind!...Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, be of the same mind. 
Heaven is not just about YOUR citizenship, but OUR citizenship is in heaven – Philippians 3:20.  2 Timothy 4:6-8 – the crown of righteousness is for all who have loved His appearing.

 

And thus we see another psalm of David.  A psalm that reminds us of the blessedness of unity.  God designed this world so that we would seek to get along with one another.  Sadly, far too many do not wish to make that happen.  But, when we come together as the body of Christ, let it be an escape from a divided world and a place where we truly count it a blessing to be with others of “like precious faith” seeking to make this body just a small taste of the eternal life to come forever more.  Are you striving for unity with God and His people?