A SONG OF ASCENTS. OF DAVID.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
A few thoughts for meditation:
1) David likely wrote this song at the high point of his reign, when all Israel was finally united together after the death of Saul and before the strife of David’s sons broke out. As people from all the tribes of Israel would gather in Jerusalem for the feasts, rather than for war, it provided a profound picture of unity and peace among all the people of God.
2) David then described the unity as a great blessing descending from God with two pictures. First, he described it as oil being poured out upon the mediator God provided to his people. The background to this picture is Exodus 29 when Aaron was consecrated and anointed as the high priest of Israel. The anointing oil was actually “precious oil”, an oil mixed with spices providing a pleasing aroma too (Ex 30:23-25). The sight and smell of the oil poured upon Aaron and trickling down his garments was a picture of God’s abundant blessing poured out through the priest to his diverse yet united people. The second picture was the dew of Hermon. Mount Hermon was the tallest mountain in Israel, located far to the north, and known for it’s abundant refreshing dew. And the picture here is that the abundant dew was descending upon Zion to refresh God’s people there. Unity especially after conflict is indeed refreshing. Both of these images of oil and water were used to describe the work of the Holy Spirit consecrating and renewing the people of God.
3) The final line emphasized the divine initiative in producing this unity. God “commanded” the blessing. He provided the mediator through which all these blessing flow to his people. He provided the city for them to dwell in. He provided peace. Any unity and blessing we enjoy as God’s people comes through his appointed mediator, Jesus Christ. When viewed through New Testament lenses, this passage takes on profound Trinitarian significance; the Father pouring out his life-giving Spirit, through his Son, Jesus Christ, to all his redeemed people, imparting new life, “life forevermore”. Here, we see a glimpse of Old Testament faith, looking beyond the types and shadows of Israel, to eternal life with God and his reconciled people. It’s a glimpse of our heavenly fellowship, when all God’s redeemed from all the nations will gather around the throne to enjoy perfect life, peace, and fellowship with God and neighbor. Let us give thanks to God when we do experience those moments of unity with God’s people, and continue to pray for more. It is a foretaste of heaven and indeed a blessing from God descending down to refresh and renew his people on their pilgrimage. Praise God from who all blessings flow!