Psalm 133: Behold our Blessed Brotherhood
Psalm 133:1 extols, Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It teaches us to appreciate how God’s good blessings are especially experienced in the worshipful union and communion of His saints.
This pleasantness is something Christians enjoy in local congregations as well as in the broader fellowship of Presbytery, General Assembly, or Synod gatherings.
See that God bestows His blessings on and through His Church united in worship.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes how the Church is Christ’s body united together, and how it is as one that the members survive and thrive. They walk with God there.
Psalm 133 is labeled in its title as a song of ascents, part of a themed “mini-series” within Psalms 120-134 believed to be sung by Israelites as they ascended the road to Jerusalem where the Temple was to unite in offering sacrifices and worship. Verse 1 teaches that such is a great blessing, and verse 3 notes that God commands his blessing there forever. As well, verse 2 recognizes it "ran down” from God, or in verse 3, it “descended.”
Blessings flow down from God and gather where He determines. Thus, assembling together for Christian worship each Lord’s Day and at His table is special fellowship (1 Corinthians 10:16). And God provides two illustrations of this blessed encounter as His gathered, communing people.
First, see that God sends blessings within His Church through Christ’s priestly propitiation.
Oil brings vigor and vitality back to our skin, with a shine and glow. It was used to anoint kings, prophets, and priests from and for the Church.
In verse 2, the oil dripping down Aaron’s beard represents his anointing as high priest ministering in the Tabernacle (and Temple), where God brought atonement of sins, forgiveness, restoration of fellowship with God, and union with His saints. Propitiation of God’s people is a blessing. Joining the redeemed is refreshing.
Christians, Christ your High Priest came down to you and was anointed by the Holy Spirit that came down upon Him. Behold the Lamb of God that has taken away your sins—and of your brethren. Acts 20:28 teaches that God purchased the flock with His own blood. Thus, Philippians 2:2 encourages you to, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Second, see that God sends plentiful blessing within His Church through the Holy Spirit.
Keil and Delitzsch share of Van de Velde’s Travels:
“What we read in the 133rd Psalm of the dew of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion is now become quite clear to me. Here, as I sat at the foot of Hermon, I understood how the water-drops which rose from its forest-mantled heights, and out of the highest ravines, which are filled the whole year round with snow, after the sun’s rays have attenuated them and moistened the atmosphere with them, descend at evening-time as a heavy dew upon the lower mountains which lie round about as its spurs. One ought to have seen Hermon with its white-golden crown glistening aloft in the blue sky, in order to be able rightly to understand the figure. Nowhere in the whole country is so heavy a dew perceptible as in the districts near to Hermon.”
In verse 3, the Dew of Hermon is said to be what Christian worship is like. The unity of the brethren celebrating our union in Christ is plenty and pristine with revitalizing power. It is what you can enjoy together magnifying His name and and tasting and seeing His goodness. Thus, as Ephesians 4:3 commands, "always be ... Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
This indeed is something to behold (especially perfectly in heaven!), as verse 1 encourages us to see it. Every Christian Sabbath, don’t miss it. Admire, adore, and appreciate one another and our eternal union in Christ. And then sing Psalm 122 while you to come to church glad to worship God together united in Christ and unified with the mind of Christ, praying for the peace, happiness, and prosperity of Jerusalem.
There is nothing else like Christ’s Church. Nothing will outlast her—there is where God’s good presence and blessings dwell forever. How blessed to belong to her—how refreshing like oil and dew. Fellow Christians, as the worshipping temples of Christ’s Holy Spirit, Behold our Blessed Brotherhood.
Grant Van Leuven has been feeding the flock at the Puritan Reformed Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA, since 2010. He and his wife, Fernanda, have six covenant children: Rachel, Olivia, Abraham, Isaac, Gabriel, and Gideon. He earned his M.Div. at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA.
 C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, trans. Francis Bolton, vol. 5, Psalms: Three Volumes in One (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975), 319.
 For the author’s sermon on this title and text, visit https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=102719195523308. See also another sermon on Psalm 131:1, “What a Blessing it is to Sit Down and Fellowship Together (A Return to Evening Meals [after COVID restrictions]): https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=92021634257506.