Our church has recently set up a business entity called The Dew Of Hermon. This is a phrase from Psalm 133, a psalm about Christian unity written by King David, who had himself experienced disunity in his own family (2 Samuel 13-18 and 2 Samuel 12:10). Before David became king, Israel was a divided nation and almost had a civil war. David would have seen and experienced firsthand the destructive effects that disunity brought to families and the nation. With this in mind, King David wrote this psalm in praise of unity among brethren: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Ps 133:1).
But what does unity mean? Does unity require everyone to have the same understanding and see eye to eye on everything? William MacDonald provides us with some good advice. “Unity among brethren is a sight to behold. However, unity does not require that they see eye to eye on everything. On matters of fundamental importance, they agree. On subordinate matters, there is liberty for differing viewpoints. In all things, there should be a spirit of love. There can be unity without uniformity; we are all different but that does not prevent our working together. All the members of the human body are different, but as they function in obedience to the head, there is glorious unity. There can be unity without unanimity; God never intended that everyone should agree on matters of minor importance. It is enough to agree on the basics. On everything else we may disagree as long as we can do it without being disagreeable. The real enemies of unity are jealousy, gossip, backbiting, censoriousness (severely critical, faultfinding) and lovelessness” (italics mine).
King David likens unity to “pleasant oil” and the “dew of Hermon” (verse 2 and 3). Oil was used to anoint the high priests at their ordination. As the oil was poured on the high priest’s head, it ran down his beard to the front of his body and over his collar. In the process, the twelve precious stones that were worn on the breastplate were soaked with the oil. This imagery is actually a picture of spiritual unity. In Scripture, oil is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit. As believers, we are already anointed by the Holy Spirit. When God’s people walk in the Spirit, we are able to forget about the externals and major on the eternal things of God, thereby fostering unity among ourselves. In Deuteronomy 32:2, we read that dew symbolises the life-giving Word of God, which is able to quench our thirsty souls (John 37:7). When unity prevails, believers are refreshed, having fellowship with God and one another. Just as “the dew of Hermon” descends upon the mountains of Zion, our testimony and influence can also be far-reaching in the communities that we seek to serve when we have unity.
As we look to 2022, what are some lessons that we can take along with us from Psalm 133? May I suggest three of them for our consideration and constant prayer?
Pray for our church as a whole to have unity of vision and purpose. As we prepare for our move to the new place, unavoidably, there will be clashes of ideas and opinions. It is unlikely that we will be able to take into consideration every person’s wants and wishes. When such things happen, we need wisdom to know the essentials from the minor things. We need to be willing to consider the needs of others above our own, and still be able to work together without being disagreeable. May we seek to speak the truth while tempering it with the spirit of love. Pray for more grace and love for one another, because each of us needs these to maintain unity.
Seek forgiveness and reconciliation, for without them, there can be no unity. Is there anyone in our midst who harbours bitterness and resentment against another? Scripture encourages us to follow Christ’s example and seek reconciliation. When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother or sister who sinned against him, Jesus replied, “Seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:22). We can only realise God’s full blessings if we pursue unity. Only there (where the people dwell in unity) has the Lord commanded the blessing of life forevermore (Ps 133: 3b) (italics mine).
Pray for God to prepare our hearts to be ready and willing to suffer hardship for His Kingdom. Pray that we may be a beacon of light and hope to the new community. May we not be discouraged about our church being in an industrial area, but be encouraged by Matthew 5:15: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” May we as the “dew of Hermon” bring refreshment and living water to the hungry and thirsty in the community around us.
Reference: 1. William MacDonald. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson.
2. Warren W. Wiersbe. (2007). The Wiersbe Bible Commentary. David Cook.
– Eld Sim Chow Meng