Our psalmist begins by celebrating family unity, declaring unity as good and pleasant. The image of oil signals God’s favor, for oil was used to consecrate and bless. God intends that
families be healthy and whole, living in peaceful unity. Healthy families are a gift. In our earliest years we form attachments in our families that enable us to love and be loved, developing the ability to form lasting relationships. We learn our identities from our families and how to trust. Healthy fami-
lies usually form healthy individuals who can live in unity. However, the psalmist does not intend God’s blessing to be for the individual family alone. Some biblical scholars believe that the focus of this psalm is on the unification of the two kingdoms of ancient Israel. The psalmist’s message reaches to
address all the people of God, all God’s children.
The church often functions as a family, and its unity is fragile. Conflict commonly occurs in the local American church. Studies suggest that at any given time about one-fifth of congre-
gations have active conflict within their ranks.
Avoidance is an automatic response to conflict; however,
Jesus calls us to be peacemakers. We do not gain peace by avoiding conflict; rather, we move into the center of conflict in order to create peace, even if that conflict is within the family of God. Reconciliation is part of the mission of the church to the world and must be practiced within the walls of the church if the mission is to have authenticity.
The oil and dew of the psalm signify bountiful well-being. The peace and harmony within the shared community in this psalm depict life as God intends.
Pray for your family and your church today. God desires us to dwell together in unity.
Genesis 45 portrays Joseph in a moment of triumph. The trials of the past are over, and his trembling brothers are now in his power. Joseph acknowledges God’s hand in the events of his life and is reconciled to those who attempted to do him harm. Psalm 133 is a brief but exuberant song to the spirit of unity and fellowship that can exist among the members of the family of God. Paul delivers a resounding “no” to the idea that God has rejected Israel. God’s election is irrevocable. The story of Jesus and the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 illustrates the wide umbrella of God’s mercy. The woman’s faith and persistence serve in a curious way to minister to Jesus. As she becomes a means of God’s grace to Jesus, he extends God’s mercy to her.
• Read Genesis 45:1-15. What relationship in your life needs reconciliation? How will you help bring it about?
• Read Psalm 133. How healthy is your church family? Is there need for greater unity among the members?
• Read Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32. What wounds in your life have brought you a greater understanding of God’s mercy?
• Read Matthew 15:10-28. The writer says, “The work of Christians is to love others, not to change them.” Is this difficult for you?
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