Unity is something you often don't appreciate until you've lost it. It can be taken for granted. Sometimes you think you have it, but you don't. Apathy can sometimes be a bad imitation of unity. Complacency doesn't mean that people are united. They just don't care. Sometimes, when there is disunity, people don't even know what they're missing. So, to appreciate the need for unity among brethren, take a good look at Biblical examples of disunity (See the special note at the end of the message). Quarreling, division, competition, and suspicion doesn't just make people feel bad. It also leads to unproductivity, counterproductivity, disillusionment, and many other damaging - even deadly things. God doesn't like it. It grieves His Spirit (causes pain - Ephesians 4:30-32). When God's Spirit grieves, don't feel sorry for Him. Rather join Him, in godly sorrow, for the misery and confusion that is produced by selfish, shallow, proud, and insensitive relationships (Ezekiel 9:4; Matthew 5:4; James 4:6-10). Then seek the loving, joyful, healing, empowering, and refreshing grace of God to awaken people to godly unity (II Timothy 2:22).
Good and Pleasant - Psalm 133:1
First notice that the text does not say that it is good and pleasant "when the brethren have meetings and seem united." Organizational uniformity is another imitation of dwelling together in unity. People conform outwardly and just go with the crowd - until they don't. To "dwell together in unity" implies a working relationship - a relationship based on real partnership. We must not settle for "business as usual." A church should be characterized by mutual love, joy, and care, mutual goals, mutual struggles, and sorrows. See I Corinthians 12:12-27; Galatians 6:2; Ephesians 4:30-32; 5:1-2,18-21; Philippians 2:1-16; Colossians 3:12-17; I John 1:3-4.
"Good and Pleasant" means that this kind of relationship produces good things - including an enjoyable and winsome atmosphere. Our ability to be united in Christ not only enables us to accomplish important things, it is a recommendation of the Grace of God to others. See Matthew 5:14-16; Mark 3:24-25; Galatians 5:14-18,22-26. More on this in the following verses.
Precious Ointment - Psalm 133:2
We are given the picture of Aaron, the High Priest, being anointed with oil for his ministry (Exodus 30:22-33). Oil was used to anoint priests, prophets, and kings for service. Oil is representative of God's Spirit, giving us power and authority (I Samuel 16:13; Isaiah 61:1-2a/Luke 4:17-19; Acts 10:38). We need to understand that all Christians have the anointing of the Holy Spirit, because all Christians have been given the Holy Spirit to reside within them - to teach, guide and empower them for service. We all have spiritual gifts (at least one - Romans 12:3-8). We need to be filled with the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. Then God will empower us to use our spiritual gifts. See II Corinthians 1:21-22; I John 2:20,27; Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 5:18-21.
As the oil came down Aarons head, and beard and robes, it would also be running down the special breastplate that was worn by him, this breastplate had the names of the twelve tribes on it. It also had twelve stones to represent the twelve tribes. See Exodus 28:29-30; 35:9,27. So, when the oil ran down that breastplate, God was showing us that He desired all of His people to be anointed with His blessing of peace and unity. See Ephesians 4:1-6; 6:23-24. Consider the empowerment that Christian unity gives to the work of the gospel (John 13:34-35; 17:20-21; Philippians 2:14-15; Acts 4:32-33.
Mountain Dew - Psalm 133:3
In Israel rain was precious, but so were the heavy dews, which, in the mornings, could look as if it had rained. People associated rain and dew as the blessings of God (Genesis 27:28,39; Deuteronomy 33:13,28; Zechariah 8:12). God's Word was described as the blessings of dew (Deuteronomy 32:2). God's personal care of Israel was compared to the dew (Hosea 14:5). How we need God's Spirit, working through His Word to give us the love, the faith, the grace to see ourselves as many members, but one body of Christ; as many stones put together in one building with Christ as our foundation (Ephesians 4:4,11-16,25; I Peter 2:3-6; I Corinthians 3:9-11). The dew gives life and refreshment, making the land fruitful. So, God's peace demonstrated among His people is an essential element that we need to live for Christ and serve Him together.
Mount Hermon was in the far north. Mount Zion was 200 miles south. Hermon was the tallest of the mountains of Israel (almost 10,000 feet). At Jerusalem, Mount Zion was much smaller (less than 3,000 feet). Despite the size, or the significance of location, God gave dew to both. God sent His dew all over. So, the need for peace and unity amongst brethren is universal. All God's people need God's grace to live and work in unity and peace. Where this is happening, God will ordain blessing and fruitfulness. See Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:3; 16:23-24; II Corinthians 1:2; 13:14; Galatians 1:3; 6:18; Ephesians 1:2; 2:11-22; 6:23-24; Philippians 1:2; 4:23; Colossians 1:2; 4:15-18; I Thessalonians 1:1; 5:27-28; II Thessalonians 1:2; 3:16-18; I Timothy 1:2; 6:17-21; II Timothy 1:2; 4:22; Titus 1:4; 3:15; Philemon 1:3,25; Hebrews 13:25; I Peter 1:2; 5:14; II Peter 1:2; 3:18; II John1:3; III John 1:14; Jude 1:2; Revelation 1:4; 22:21.
Special note: Below are given Biblical examples of division among brethren. Whether domestic or ecclesiastical - It is not good! It is not pleasant! We need to seek God for the essence of Psalm 133 in our Christian experience!
Examples: Cain/Abel (Genesis 4), Lot's servants/Abraham's servants (Genesis 13), Jacob's sons (Genesis 37; 45:24), Moses' brother and sister (Numbers 12), David's children (II Samuel 13 - 18 see 12:10), The Lord's disciples (Matthew 20:20-24; Mark 9:33-34; Luke 22:21-24), Paul/Barnabas (Acts 15:36-41), the Corinthian church (I Corinthians 1:10-11; 3:1-3; 11:17-18; 16:10-11), Euodias/Syntyche (Philippians 4:2-3).