Some commentaries suggest that David may simply be celebrating and promoting the unity within the kingdom when he was anointed king. Others suggest that maybe he is celebrating the renewed unity after the division caused by the revolt of his son Absalom. Still others suggest that by starting with the word "Behold," David is recognizing a contrast between what is desired and the reality of the divisions that still need healing within his kingdom. The fact that this Psalm was considered important enough to include in the book of Psalms indicates that in any case this was a song that resonated with the people and their desire for unity.
Perhaps, in the gathering of people walking together to a festival at the temple in Jerusalem, David saw an example of what he hoped his kingdom would eventually be like - everyone walking in the same direction, with the same purpose and goal. Perhaps the people also felt this desire for the perfect unity that God desires for us. Even today we can identify with this desire for a more complete unity.
In order for us to overcome the world and establish the kingdom of God, we need to show the world that we can work together as one body of Christ. We need to embrace our differences as to what makes us able to be more effective as the body of Christ. With our differences we can reach out to more people in many differ-ent situations and in many different cultures. As the body of Christ, we recognize one head, Jesus Christ, and we must work together to be the eyes, ears, hands, feet, and voices to do the work that Jesus calls us to do. It is in the unity of the Holy Spirit that we are called to coordinate our words and actions so that we can walk and work together as the body of Christ.
In the second verse, the mention of the anointing oil that is poured out on a king or a high priest reminds us of the blessings that God has provided for each of us. These words evoke the feeling of God’s blessings flowing down over our heads and faces, and even our clothes, to drip on our feet. We are blanketed with the warmth of God’s love as the blessings rain down upon us. Isaiah 61:3 refers to the anointing oil as the “oil of joy.”
Commentator Albert Barnes suggests that “the whole man was consecrated, or was ‘united’ in the consecration. It was not merely the head, but the beard, the raiment, the entire person, that partook of the fragrance of the anointing oil. Thus love in a Christian community is so abundant - so overflowing - that it spreads over all the spiritual body, the church; the same sweet and holy influence, represented by the oil of anointing, pervades all, and combines all in one.”
And in the third verse we are filled with joy at the knowledge that living in unity and enjoying God’s blessings provide life for us - real life, eternal life, fulfilling life.
The dew on Mount Herman is said to be a heavy dew that waters the plants each day. Dew is not heavy handed or overpowering. Dew arrives gently, refreshing, and revitalizing the plants on the mountainside. This is a physical as well as a spiritual renewal that we seek.
Water draws us together and where the dew is abundant, plant life flourishes. We all need water and without water we will not survive. Where the Lord bestows his blessing of the “Living Water” of the Holy Spirit, our spiritual life flourishes and we can live in unity as children of God, even into eternal life with God.
- George Keeler
United Baptist Church, Concord and their pastor David Denis
United Church of Cornish and their pastor Dale Louise Nicholas
United Church of Danbury and their interim pastor Henry Frost