Like Precious Oil
Fellowship among Christ’s believers is a rich gift.
It’s a joy when we can share in God’s goodness together: praising the Lord with one voice, using his blessings to help one another, and being encouraged by the company of the saints.
When the people of God went up to Jerusalem for the annual festivals, this same communion gave a boost to their festivities before the LORD.
The tribes of Israel had experienced times of ugly division and hostility, even civil war, so to worship God in harmony and unity was truly a reason for thanksgiving. No wonder they joyfully sing about this unity in Psalm 133:1,
How good and pleasant it is!
This psalm then compares that overflow of affection to the fragrant oil that was poured on Aaron for his consecration as high priest.
The LORD said that before Aaron and his sons could serve in the tabernacle, they needed to be anointed. The fragrant oil which saturated his hair and beard was a symbol of his total consecration to God.
Dripping with oil, he was ready to worship!
In the same way as that priestly anointing for Aaron and his sons made them ready, the Holy Spirit prepares the body of Christ for service and unites us in love. About this unity, says Psalm 133:2,
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard.
We need the Spirit’s anointing, for there are still sometimes sinful divisions in the church of Christ. This happens when we judge one another harshly. This happens when we elevate our own opinions to the status of doctrine and fail to accept each other with love and patience.
But God wants us to live as one body under Christ our Head. And by his Holy Spirit he makes this harmony possible. Just like in Psalm 133, Christ’s Spirit is like precious oil upon us. He anoints us all as priests for the work to which God calls us.
For instance, the Holy Spirit equips us as different parts of the body. Some receive this gift, others receive another, whether gifts in giving, or leading, or teaching, or showing mercy, or in reaching out to nonbelievers. But in whatever way we are empowered and enabled, God calls us to use our gifts in love for building up the health of Christ’s body. This communion is able to bring great blessing to the church, and it brings much glory to God.
How has the Spirit equipped you for service in the church?
How are you adding to the joy of your church’s fellowship through works of love?
If we know Christ and we have his Spirit, may we all be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3).
Such unity is good and pleasant!