Unity, or lack thereof, can make or break many aspects of our lives. In fact, many marriages, organizations, and churches fail because they cannot or will not operate in harmony.
God’s word gives us insight into just how powerful this principle is, and we often see extraordinary things happen when it is exercised!
Unity in the Church
Some years ago, when I first became the pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, we hosted a Bible study, and about ten people showed up. In a following meeting with the deacons, we discussed where the gaps might be to cause such low attendance. So I shared my revelation, “You can’t expect the congregation to do what the leaders don’t do.”
At this time, one of the deacons responded, “Well, I just don’t believe the Bible like you believe the Bible.” This posed an immediate problem because he was not only a leader at our church but also was not committed to unity within our congregation. Following this comment, the remaining deacons challenged his words, and he resigned immediately.
We see unity in Joshua 1, where the leaders of Israel (who are now following Joshua, the successor of Moses) threaten to kill anyone who doesn’t follow Joshua’s lead. I like those kinds of leaders!
I am commonly asked, “What do you ascribe the success of FBCG to?” There are many things I can say, but here is one thing I know to be true – God favors this house because we operate in unity and are headed in the same direction.
When a church operates in ways outside of unity, it leaves room for lost vision, conflicting views, and many people with different desires leading the flock in many directions. This is not how God designed His church, and we at FBCG won’t surrender to any ways that are not from Him.
A Warning About Unity
Do you remember the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11? The people came together, unified, and decided to build a tower that would reach the heavens. However, that wasn’t in the will of God, so He confused their speech with a multitude of languages.
Unity is so powerful that it can also cause groups of people to do something God doesn’t want them to do. Church, stand firm, and guard where you are unified.
The Principle, Power, and Promise of Unity
Psalms 133 was believed to be written by David after Israel had been divided and come back together. In this passage, we can glimpse the Father’s heart toward unity and why this unity still applies to us today.
Together, let’s take a look at the principle, power, and promise of unity.
I.The Principle of Unity (vs. 1)
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
Psalms 133:1, NKJV
Behold is a common word used in the Scriptures. But do you know what it means? It is when the author is trying to grab our attention – “HEY! Listen up; I am about to say something important!”
In verse 1, David implies that when God sees unity, He does amazing things. It doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything or be uniform; it simply means that blessings come when you are all headed in the same direction with the same goals!
So how does unity happen? It can be found when we put aside our personal agendas and desires and focus on the benefit of the whole.
For example, musicians in a band aren’t required to play the same notes, but they do need to be in the same key. Choir members can sing different parts but must be singing the same piece.
Unity allows us to exercise our gifts and strengths as we hold one vision and mission in the body of Christ.
Examples of Unity in the Bible
Throughout the Bible, we see examples of the importance of unity.
- When Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray (John 17), four times he prayed, “Lord, let them be one as we are one!”
- When Solomon finished building the Tabernacle (2 Chronicles 5), the musicians and choir came together. They were so unified in their worship that the priest couldn’t preach because the glory of God filled the place of worship.
- In Exodus 36, Moses wanted to build a Tabernacle and needed resources to complete it. The children of Israel were so unified in this vision that they collected an abundance of money that Moses turned away the excess!
- When the disciples were gathered in one place in one accord (Acts 2), the Spirit of God filled them, and they could now operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
When people operate in unity, it invites the Holy Spirit to move! However, without it, strife takes over.
Unity and Strife in Jericho
In Joshua 6, the children of Israel were on their way to attack the city of Jericho. Unfortunately, this city had gigantic walls surrounding it, so no one went in, and no one went out. Because of this challenge, the children of Israel weren’t quite sure how they would conquer the city. So God told Joshua to tell the people to march around the city one time each day for six days and, on the seventh, march around seven times. Then after they’ve done that, instruct the priest to blow the trumpet and the people to shout, and only then will He give them the city.
In this passage, we see just how unified the children of Israel were. When people grew tired, they held one another up. When people became discouraged, they reminded each other of the goodness of God.
Eventually, as they moved forward in unity, the walls of Jericho came down!
God can do the spectacular when we are unified. However, they didn’t remain unified until the end.
God instructed them that when the walls came down, they were to go into the city and kill everything, both people and animals, and they were not to keep anything. (Any gold and silver they found were commanded to be put in the treasury of the Tabernacle.) Unfortunately, one man named Achan was not committed to unity in this part of the mission. He decided he would take of the items that were off-limits, and he hid them in his tent.
The next day, the children of Israel moved on to the next city and attempted to fight and conquer, but they lost. So Joshua questioned why God would allow this little city to defeat them, to which God revealed that there was some disharmony in his camp. One prideful person caused the Israelites a victory, but in the end, it caused Achan and his family their lives.
Church, I pray you would have a mind of unity. Because if you have anything but, you are disobeying God.
II.The Power of Unity (vs. 2-3a)
“It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments.”
Psalms 133:2, NKJV
The visual of this passage is so powerful. Unity is like precious oil upon the head.
In scripture, oil represents the anointing and the favor of God. It is the opening of doors that no man can close and is the power and presence of the Almighty God! Saints, when your life operates in unity, it brings anointing and favor.
The head represents the authority you are under. Some of you are in trouble because you choose against having authority in your life; you have no pastor or leader, and it’s a problem.
But why is the head significant? Because the anointing starts there and flows onto every other aspect of the body. Some of you will never experience the dripping of the oil because you are too arrogant, self-centered, and proud of who you are that you refuse to get under the umbrella of someone’s authority.
The Twelve Tribes
When the priests were anointed, the oil flowed from his head, into his beard, and onto his garments, running to the hem. The priests’ garments comprised an ephod (a sacred apron), a breastplate, and a robe. At the edge of the robe were the names of the twelve Tribes of Israel. So when the oil fell to the edge of the robe, the anointing covered the Twelve Tribes as well.
Saints, your name is on the edge of that garment. Your needs and breakthrough are anointed with oil. And because of God’s favor over your life, no weapon formed against you will prosper!
Psalms 133:2 also mentions that the anointing is running down Aaron’s beard. But why is this significant?
When Moses ascended to the mountain to collect the Ten Commandments, Aaron, Moses’ brother, gathered the people and instructed them to bring their gold so they could melt it and build a golden image. This was the same Aaron who led the children of Israel to bow down to idol worship.
This mention of Aaron is important because God gave him another chance.
Does anyone need another chance from a mighty God?
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in your past, you can be an Aaron, and God will give you a second chance, anointing you with His oil!
The Dew of God
“It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion;”
Psalms 133:3a, NKJV
Dew results from moisture going through the condensation process, becoming a liquid.
I learned as a pilot that when I want to go out and fly, I must first check the dew point and temperature. If the dewpoint and temperature measurements are less than five degrees, you will have some fog.
There is nothing like the fog of God in your life, and if the degrees of separation are so minor, you will experience the thickness of His presence and favor.
Hermon, a high place in Palestine, and Zion, a low, dry one, are 100 miles apart. What God is saying in this verse is that even though you may be far apart, what’s coming to you is coming from a high place and will find you no matter what valley you find yourself in!
Some of you are in a dry place – you’re lonely, empty, depressed, but God will bring you some dew!
III. The Promise of Unity (vs. 3b)
“For there the LORD commanded the blessing – life forever more.”
Psalms 133:3b, NKJV
Some commentary says that there is referring to Hermon and Mount Zion; however, I haven’t been to any of these places and have experienced great favor over my life.
I believe there is a place of unity.
There, in your marriage, your home, your church, your organization – God commands His blessing.
Our God is faithful and is true to His word. He isn’t suggesting or implying a blessing; this blessing is already on its way, and where God’s blessing is, no devil in hell can stop it.
And what does God command? Life forever more. When we partner with God and His church in unity, not only will His favor flow, but He will give us everlasting life.
Are you ready to step into unity with God?