Repositioning 1: Our Inward Disposition
Behold How Good… (Psalm 133)
I want to start by saying where we are going with this today so you can decide if you want to come with me or count the floor tiles!
I have what I believe to be a Godly dissatisfaction with the position of our Church. This has a number of points of focus. I don’t like it that we do not see the movement of the Holy Spirit amongst as I believe we should. We do not see the healing that we know we have seen previously, we grow yes but our ability to accommodate that growth is continuously hindered by our accommodation.
So we have been looking for some answers. And yes in a very wonderful way over a period of some months God has been showing us and today I want to make what I believe to be a fundamental connection in our heads our hearts and our lives
The anointing of the Holy Spirit among us has a direct connection to the extent of the Unity among us. If we have a desire to see change in us and through us then it seems clear in the word that our lives should reflect an agreement together that we have yet to reach.
So this is the first of three studies in which I will be laying out the prophetic revelation shared among the eldership in the last thee months.
These revelations all concern our positioning for growth as a Church
Our Disposition.- How we are with each other and the consequences of this.
Our Exposition..- How we express our life to the world around us
Our Reposition..- The journey of faith we are embarking on together in 2010
1Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
2It is like the precious oil onthe head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
3It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the LORD has commanded the blessing,
A very famous psalm with a very famous theme- Unity
The danger is that we see this Psalm and think that this is a Psalm that simply says that Unity is a good thing.
And that is rubbish it is not saying that -No it is not.
It is a psalm about the experience and consequences of God’s people living as He intended them to. I am aching and crying to God that we might know both the experience of and the consequences of such Unity.
1. Good & Pleasant
We all know it’s good for people to get along. Put a family together over Christmas and we all know how important it is for people to get along; but what God is saying to us is that it is Good AND pleasant.
It is specific to about the brothers and sisters thing too. Just reflect for a moment what are the most famous first few accounts about brotherly relations in the bible like.
Cain & Abel
Shem Ham & Japeth seemed to get it right
Esau & Jacob
Then if we look at being part of a Church Community it can be even worse.
If many of us are going to be honest. We are all fine with the it’s a good thing, but pleasant- I’m not so sure. We struggle we scrape up against each other with our expectations our ways we like things done and it is not always pleasant.
Now we could manage and cope with it being a good thing to get along. There are many good things that are not pleasant
These can all be good for us, but NOT necessarily pleasant.
An aside. – The converse is never right for us. There is no such thing as a pleasant which is not good. In fact that might be one definition of sin- A pleasant which is NOT Good.
However, in this Psalm we get the double cream, the double cornet of Good and pleasant.
I asked God about this being Good and pleasant and found myself considering the difference between
Spending time in each other’s company AND Dwelling together in Unity
Clearly the Good and pleasant bit comes from considerably more than simply attending meetings together and sitting in a chair next to somebody else.
It’s a start- But God spends the next three verses letting us know how much better it will be if we grasp and live a life dwelling in Unity. AND it’s a major issue for us.
I spoke the other week of the death of a friend- Peter Gambling; and of this I am confident. I was seldom in His company, but when I was I always knew I dwelled in Unity with Him. That seems to need me to unpack the word dwell a bit more.
Dwell is a word that means to stay but it is more than that- it speaks of it as a homecoming. When we go home we ‘dwell’.
Psalm 84 speaks of
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!
He even emphasises this by putting one of those Selah pauses.
This is truly where He wants to stay he doesn’t want to move on.
To dwell in God’s house means not to go there, but to stay there to make it your home- More importantly if you asked the psalmist He went on to say
10For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather bea doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Dwelling is the place you really want to be.
It is God’s intended purpose for us, that we dwell, yes dwell, both in His presence and in Unity with our brothers and sisters within the Church
In that ‘dwelling’ we will know the challenges as our characters spark against each other, but the word also speaks of iron sharpening iron. If you get one of those really open and honest bible studies where you start talking about the challenges of your faith and the blessings of God- that is iron sharpening iron.
Often in the Bible it speaks of a state of oneness peace and wholeness it uses the word Shalom for this, It is the word used in the fruit of the Holy Spirit , It as a place we reach in God.
However this is NOT the word used here for unity. This word is an active word, describing a team of oxen working as one to plough a field or soldiers working as one in battle or hunters, so we see it as a very active thing. We work together to see a task. Our Unity that we seek to maintain literally dwell in is for purpose we have a job to do and we are committed together to that task.
In order for that task to be done effectively the team has to work together to agree together.
We all know this is true, We would all have enjoyed a walk together on Boxing day and helping clear up and playing a game, These are active things we can do together.
You and I know that we can and do come together as God’s people and many of us have formed friendships on different levels, some of these are long lasting and with others we see people come and go- But this is NOT dwelling together in Unity
For this we can look elsewhere for guidance.
Look at Hebrews 10: 19-27
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20
by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21
and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25(L)
not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
We can hold in our minds for use in a minute that the grounds for the, “Let us stir one another up” is that Jesus has made it possible for us as a High priest to enter God’s presence, therefore we will know His ability as we look for guidance in how to ‘stir’
Acts 2 42 speaks of the quality of the disciples’ unity. It is something inspired by the Holy spirit at Pentecost.
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
Mt 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
4. The Flowing Oil
God through the psalmist wants to communicate with us about the amazing powerful consequences of what we have looked at so far. I would suggest that the consequences of true unity are amongst the most underrated truths in the word. But we see Jesus’ emphasis in John’s Gospel
Jn 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jn 17:20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
So in Psalm 133 two amazing pictures are used to get across to us now in 2010 the wonderful consequences of dwelling together in Unity.
The first picture of oil is commonly identified as the Holy spirit and you do not need to be a great biblical scholar to work that one out, but what I believe God showed me on this occasion is that if there is unity, the impact of that unity is felt beyond the individuals concerned it FLOWS.
Thus we see the Holy Spirit flowing between us as we dwell in unity helping and inspiring us in all we do.
AND I am convinced that it works both ways too. If we listen and allow the oil of the holy spirit to flow as we devote ourselves to God so we will see greater bonds of unity breaking out among us.
In the Psalm it uses the oil first flowing down the head then the beard then the robes.
But then it gets really exciting because suddenly the man is identified – and who is he? Not just any old man but Aaron- God’s mouthpiece to Israel.
What does this then reveal to us?
Our dwelling in unity is a prophetic statement of God’s Word to those around us The Holy Spirit is communicated into the hearts of those around us who see us and experience our unity.
Look back to what I said a moment ago about the grounds for our unity being achieved through the High Priest Jesus going before us into the presence of God, in Hebrews. We see here in Psalm 133 Aaron being used as a ‘type’ of Jesus.
We can from this account infer that we can expect the anointing of the Holy Spirit to flow prophetically as a direct consequence of the unity of God’s people.
5. The dew of Hermon
I could be accused of over interpretation in suggesting such an anointing on the basis of one verse, but as we reflect we see that this is true in the word and the very next verse in Psalm 133 reiterates exactly the same point.
3It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the LORD has commanded the blessing,
Ok a bit of context. Mount Hermon is in the very North of Israel a lush fertile part of Israel. The Psalmist had clearly walked through a meadow on a summer morning and got his robe absolutely soaked with dew.
“It was as if the dew of Hermon”- This is no ordinary dew, this is some dew.
And what do we know of the Judean Hills the hills around Jerusalem,
They are much much drier. They get rain even snow, but they are very dry Mount Zion getting a soaking is a very radical image
But what Zion lacks in natural fertility it makes up for in spiritual fertility- It is the spiritual heart of the nation the temple of God. The Psalmist is bringing together the natural fertility of Hermon with the Spiritual fertility of Zion to create something spectacular.
What does this show us that as we combine together what we are all our natural gifting and allow the Spirit within us to get hold of this in working together in unity well then pow all the fireworks will go off.
What does the Psalm say – The Blessing of the Lord.
6. A COMMANDED blessing
The Lord has commanded or commands the blessing
This is not by some natural osmosis, this is a commanded blessing.
Our dwelling together in Unity warrants one of those divine interventions that the world does not understand. The flow of nature is going its way. The chaos of the fallen world and Bam God Commands and says – let there be Light. And there was.
He commands Life in Genesis,
Life in Psalm 133 and the same
Life in John 10: 10 and
the same life in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and
the same life that stirred a fisherman to speak to 3000 and
the same life that saved thousands that day and
healed many more in the years that followed.
The same life that heals and restores and forgives. NOW.
7. A Critical Conclusion
From this we can gain but one conclusion, that whilst recognising the sovereignty of God and it is HE who commands the Blessing, there does seem to be a DIRECT connection between the unity and fellowship of God’s people and
A release of the flow of the Holy Spirit in power to bring life where there is death.
A people dwelling in Unity are an anointed people- Anointed for a Blessing commanded by God.
Tim Blake Jan 2010.