Before I get into the Psalm today I would like to ask that each person reading this blog take a moment to pray for the tornado victims in Oklahoma yesterday (May 20, 2013.) As well as the one that hit on May 19, 2013 with less total destruction, but still destruction to those who went through it. As the tornado was hitting yesterday the weather stations were reporting it as an “EF4” with the final rating possibly going to be an “EF5”, 2 miles wide, with winds of 200+ MPH (EF5s are RARE) in most of the area it hit!! After the tornado went through, the pictures showed nothing but devastation, a public school was totally destroyed, brick homes were nothing but rubble. This morning in the last report I heard there are now 90+ confirmed dead and I believe 20 of those are children in the destroyed school. I certainly don’t have all the answers, nor can my mind wrap itself around everything that has happened. As we read the Old Testament, my mind wonders if our God is trying to get our nation’s attention….to return to HIM. These types of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, financial and economic collapses, other geophysical occurrences, religious fighting, and so much more are happening at an alarming rate not just in the US but all over the world. No I don’t understand, and I don’t have a “cliche to throw out.” I simply want to encourage each person to PRAY, use this awesome power of PRAYER to ask The Lord to intervene, to ask for HIS comfort, provisions, to protect and care for the survivors, the families who have suffered great loss, as well as the first responders, and to ask HIM to open the hearts of people all over our nation so we may be UNITED and not pulled further away from HIM. PRAY for people to come know HIM through this. PRAY for decisions of our leaders in how they handle these hurting people, for leaders of all nonprofits coming to the aid of these people, and ASK God HOW you can extend arms and hands of compassion and HIS love to others. PRAY!! This area of our country aka: “tornado alley” is expecting many more tornados this WEEK…..PRAY that God will guide the future tornados to areas of little population!!
Sorry.. I did have a heavy heart for the people in this storm. NOW back to Psalm 133 ~~~~ Ahhh. possibly a day of reprieve with “only” one Psalm to read. However…. there is much to learn in this tiny Psalm.
First, this Psalm was by David and is one of the Psalms of Ascent. Remember as each step to the Temple was climbed the people would sing or recite a psalm of ascent. They would praise God with each step up to the Temple. Psalms 120-134 are all Psalms of Ascent. So, in Psalm 133 they are near the top of the steps closer to the temple….where their Lord/OUR Lord dwelled. Can you imagine being at the temple hearing all the praise and worship? I mean, you know there were LOTS of people there and they were not all on the same step at the same time. I bet it sounded like angels praising God …. and OH what a pleasing sound it must have been to HIM!!! The Word tells us that The Lord inhabits the praises of HIS people….. I can ONLY imagine!!
The Israelites ALL made a pilgrimage from their lands to the Temple 3 times per year (once the Temple was built). Can you imagine walking up the Temple steps and for each of 14 steps you would be reciting or singing (from memory) a Psalm of Ascent on each step. Now, at Psalm 133 you only have one more step after this. Your heart is beating wildly with excitement. YOU are shouting out to God this Psalm of praise and deep appreciation. You are only one step away from being in the Temple of Your Most High God.
Let’s read Psalm 133 right here on this page
“1 How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.”
Let’s take a closer look at what they were saying:
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”
At the time, this was referring to the Jews. Yesterday we read about David UNIFYING ALL of ISRAEL. The division of the country was about to begin, but David did what God told him to do and we ended our reading yesterday with the nation unified. This unification will last for 70 years. Can you imagine the peace that the people felt as they made their pilgrimages 3 times per year to BE with God? Can you imagine how David felt writing this knowing how precious UNITY in his nation was.
Today this Psalm is referring to the church, the believers, the Christians. WHAT if all Christians of ALL denominations were UNITED. Unity does not mean we have to agree on every jot and tittle, or ALL do the exact same things. However, it would mean that NO denomination would see themselves as better than any other. It would mean that we simply would agree to disagree on different slight interpretations of the Word, and there would be NO rituals for ritual sake (rituals can become idols in and of themselves)….ONLY different ways to PRAISE and WORSHIP the ONE TRUE GOD. The transformation of our hearts, minds and souls would be the focus in each denomination, focusing on the WORD of God, changing ourselves more into the image of Christ, and each doing our part to further the Kingdom of God here on earth. OH WHAT a world it would be. The fact that Christian denominations can’t agree, argue, publicly fight, and “sling mud” must grieve God because it turns focus from HIM to the rituals, rules, procedures, and struggles for power of the denominations rather than focusing on Him. It also continually gives the enemy a “toe hold” into our worship of God and we all know “toe holds” grow into strong holds. It can also keep people from desiring to know God! I hear people continually tell me: “But WHY would I WANT to be a part of a group that is supposed to be honest, praise God, love one another, yet they lie, cheat, steal, and strive for power worse than everyone else because the others don’t profess to be Christians?” My very humble response is usually something along the lines that NO man is perfect…God is NOT man…man is NOT God, and man does mess things up or at least I know I have, do, and unfortunately will. However, I encourage them not to allow the enemy to steal the loving relationship God wants with them because of what they see in some/many people. Could you imagine if everyone in the body of believers of Jesus Christ was united. Ohhhh what a force WE would be. An Army Of God on earth! But from God’s eyes we are so divided. If Christians can’t agree on the basics based on the Word of God then how can we expect our governments to ever be able to agree and work together? What if we were all “giving churches” who focused on alleviating the suffering in our churches, our communities, our families, our friends, our cities, our states, our nation. This type of focus would indeed change the image of “The Church” in our world. This ALL makes me all the more aware of the power of prayer and why God asks us to PRAY for our leaders, that their hearts would be open to HIM, that they would be men and women of integrity working toward a common goal. But look at our own nation today!! PRAY!!
The anointing oil. I was born and raised in the Catholic Church. As a young child I did my first communion where I acknowledged Jesus Christ and the holiness of the communion. As a young teenager, maybe at age 12 or 13, I went through my confirmation, where I made a choice to make Jesus Christ the Lord of my life. During the confirmation my forehead was anointed with a dab of oil. To this day, I can STILL remember the sweet aroma of the oil. Back in OT times, when they anointed people with oil, they poured an entire bottle of oil on their head and allowed it to run down their face, beard, clothing. The oil is symbolic of being on God’s side. A symbol of knowing we have been anointed HIS. Oil is very precious and aromatic and awakens our senses. Moses anointed Aaron with oil in this way as the first High Priest (Exodus 29:9) and it was used to dedicate all priests to the Lord. The oil represented dedication to serving God wholeheartedly. Exodus 30:23-24 gives the recipe for the oil to be used in the Temple. It was made of myrrh, cinnamon, and other natural ingredients. It was expensive and the people were told NOT to duplicate the recipe for the oil in their homes or sale it, not because it had “mystical” qualities, but God wanted their obedience to keep the use of the oil special. Picture this liquid gold running through your hair, down your face and onto your garments. Imagine the wonderful smell of the Lord. A sign of Him anointing us with the Holy Spirit…the same Spirit that raised Jesus back to life lives in us and that wonderful oil is a reminder of that!
Another topic concerning the use of oil that my Pastor Dave Bowman shared with us concerns the use of oil by a shepherd on his sheep. A good shepherd KNOWS how to take care of HIS sheep and KNOWS exactly what to do to heal them and to calm them. I wish I knew the name of the book he referenced, but I will find out and post on a later day but the book was written by a modern day shepherd. Apparently during certain times of the year, there are tiny bugs that “live” to enter into a sheep’s nasal passages. Once they begin entering the nasal passages, the sheep become anxious, won’t sleep, won’t settle down, because these tiny bugs not only enter the nasal passages but they bore into the sheeps’ brains (ICK!!) A good shepherd pours linseed oil over their heads and massages their nasal passages as much as possible. Once this is done the sheep calms down, rests, eats, and becomes their normal self. The linseed oil kills the nasty bugs. A good shepherd KNOWS how to take care of their sheep, bring them comfort, heal them, and lead them … and in the time of year when this little bugs come it is done with the linseed oil. THIS is how well our God knows us. HIS Holy Spirit lives in us to comfort us, bring us peace, heal us, guide us, and so much more. The sheep KNOWS they belong to THIS shepherd just like we know we belong to God and their is peace that we are HIS. Ahhhhhh!!!
Hermon, actually Mount Hermon is the tallest mountain in Palestine, located northeast of the Sea of Galilee. It has three separate summits that are covered most of the year with snow. (I have never been to Jerusalem or anywhere close so it is hard for me to imagine ANY place close to the desert getting snow!) Apparently you can snow ski there!! The run off of Mount Hermon supplies water to the rivers and streams that merge to the Jordan River (remember back when God held back the waters of the Jordan River for the Israelites to cross into the Promised Land…and it was in the Spring when the river was it’s fullest with rapids, overflowing, and deep….now you know where the water came from <<smile>>>) The modern name is Jebel-esh-Sheikh.
So what is the significance of Mount Hermon and the anointing oil in this passage? The dew of Hermon, descended upon the mountains of Zion (Jerusalem). From the higher mountains the moisture appeared to fall upon the lesser hills. This is the same way that brotherly love descends from our Most High God to HIS children, refreshing, sweet to our hearts and souls, and enlivening as it touches. Holy unity and love are like the dew, mysteriously blessed, full of life and growth for all plants of grace. This type of dew is no common dew, it is overwhelmingly abundant and far reaching.
Our God could command us to show HIS love and it would have to be done. However, HIS Word tells us over and over again that we have a CHOICE. When we CHOOSE HIM, HE is so deeply pleased to see us happy with one another, living in harmony/unity. When we choose HIM, He gives HIS best blessing of eternal life, and all that comes to us in living the abundant life here on earth. God’s love can NEVER be taken from us. This unity by Christian love has God’s blessing resting on it. This unity is sacred like the anointing oil and heavenly like the dew of Hermon.
If you are HUNGRY for a little more of God’s Word…READ THE NEXT PSALM! Sing your OWN song of praise out loud with this one. Not ONLY are we standing on the top step of the Temple where Our Most High God dwelled, but we are blessed to have seen so many prophesies come to pass. Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to DWELL in us everyday!!! WE HAVE our living, Abba Father, dwelling inside of us today and forevermore!! God resides in us to have continual fellowship with His People EVERY day!!! We no longer have to make a pilgrimage to experience his closeness. HE IS LIVING IN US…..….so go ahead and recite PSALM 134….PRAISE THE LORD! WE ARE HIS DWELLING PLACE!!!
Sharing HIS anointed, heavenly love,