Oil and Water


David used the evocative images of oil and water to express a need for unity within relationships. Learn more from a study of Psalm 133.


Gracious God, as I face this new day, I acknowledge that You know my needs, read my thoughts, and see into my heart.


PSALM 133:1-3


Consider: Ask the Lord to use this simple psalm to provoke prayer and action for the healing of relationships.

Think Further:

A Christian minister was once asked if he had an active congregation. "Yes," he replied, "very active. Half of them are working with me and half of them are working against me." Well, it would be amusing if it weren't so common--and so disastrous. The Christian church is so often riven by divisions of all kinds. Yet we sense a special "goodness" (1) when there is a truly common bond, a shared purpose and the warmth of genuine fellowship, even across boundaries of race, economic status, personality and gender. God's presence is specially known as his people dwell together in harmony.

David uses two evocative images to describe this goodness. Unity is like the fragrance of oil (2), used to consecrate priests (Exod. 29:7; Lev. 8:12) and also to welcome guests (Luke 7:46), its aromatic qualities especially welcome in a hot climate. Unity is also like the refreshment of the dew on Mount Hermon (3), Israel's highest mountain, so welcome in an arid landscape. Such unity among God's people was easily lost, as it was following Solomon, when the nation split into two with disastrous consequences. The same can be true in churches, families and relationships of all kinds--hence the many appeals in Scripture that Christians should live in harmony.

This is the place of God's blessing, David assures us (3), and the repetition of "descending" ("running down," 2; "falling on," 3) reminds us that true unity is from above, a blessing bestowed by God himself. And so it is--but it is something to be actively sought in our families, churches and friendships. Everything about our faith is one, Paul tells the Ephesians, so "make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3).


There are so many divisions in families, churches and societies. In what ways can you help bring about reconciliation in broken relationships?


Lord, nerves get frayed and relationships can be shattered so easily. Help me to keep my relationships healthy.

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