Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. – Psalm 133.1-2
It is good and pleasant when brethren dwIt ell together – in unity.
I think every one – those who follow God or not, understand the importance of unity in getting things done. If we are not united we will fail. A house divided against itself shall not stand. Divided nations are never as strong as when they were united.
And if it is important for nations and people to work together how much more important is it that God’s people be united. We all face a common enemy. Satan is out to destroy us and the world wants to see us fail
Yet despite that we still divide. Most often we divide over the smallest and silliest things. We divide over music or worship styles or translations or gifts or sovereignty or free will or personal standards or any number of things that we can divide over.
We are told way back in Ecclesiastes that ‘And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.’ This theme, like we mentioned at the start, is so obvious that the world recognises it. Here is a children’s version of one of Aesop’s fable:
A certain Father had a family of Sons, who were forever quarrelling among themselves. No words he could say did the least good, so he cast about in his mind for some very striking example that should make them see that discord would lead them to misfortune.
One day when the quarrelling had been much more violent than usual and each of the Sons was moping in a surly manner, he asked one of them to bring him a bundle of sticks. Then handing the bundle to each of his Sons in turn he told them to try to break it. But although each one tried his best, none was able to do so.
The Father then untied the bundle and gave the sticks to his Sons to break one by one. This they did very easily.
“My Sons,” said the Father, “do you not see how certain it is that if you agree with each other and help each other, it will be impossible for your enemies to injure you? But if you are divided among yourselves, you will be no stronger than a single stick in that bundle.”
Unity is strength, division is weakness. It is good for us to dwell together in unity. Sometimes it is confuse separation with holiness. Our motives may truly be to be holy, but we apply externals and then divide over the petty stuff.
I don’t have to agree with my brother in every aspect of our mutual faith. We may do things differently and sing different songs and focus on different minor doctrines and worship in different styles, but we are one and in that oneness we find strength to stand against a world which grows in it opposition to us.
Just up the road from us is the Bundle of Sticks Roundabout. I'll never look at it the same again.