Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Psalm 133 1
1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

Background 2

This psalm is a brief piece of writing that places high praise on unity and brotherly love. David sees the miseries of discord among men, which he sees as needless. Oh how wonderful our world would be if we could persuade people to live together in peace. There is some conjecture that David penned this psalm on the occasion of the union between the tribes when they all met unanimously to make him king. It is a psalm of general use to all societies, smaller and larger, civil and sacred. In this psalm is:

  1. The doctrine laid down of the happiness of brotherly love (v. 1).
  2. The illustration of that doctrine, in two simple examples (v. 2, v. 3).
  3. The proof of it, in a good reason given for it (v. 3); and

then we are left to make the application, which we ought to do in singing it, provoking ourselves and one another to holy love. The contents of this psalm in our Bibles, are short, but very proper; it is “the benefit of the communion of saints.’’

Biblical Truths and Theology 3

Verse 1 – Brothers “stay together” means that brothers “do not fight”.

Verse 2 – A united country is like sweet oil. This is not motor oil, but oil from a fruit called the olive.

Aaron was Moses’ brother. He was the first chief (most important) priest of the Jews. They do something special to a chief priest at the start of his work. They “anoint” him. This means that they put olive oil on his head. It runs down his face onto his beard. Then it goes on to his clothes. A better translation of “clothes” is “collar”. The oil makes everything smell nice. It is like a picture of brothers who are not fighting. It is good, or “smells nice”.

Verse 3: This verse gives another picture. Dew is water that comes on to the ground at night. It comes down on mountains like Hermon and Zion. Hermon is in the north of the country where the Jews lived. The dew makes plants grow when there is no rain. Zion is the mountain in Jerusalem where the Jews built God’s house. Zion is a good place to be. Zion is where God “blesses” people (or does good things for them). That is why it is a good place. For Christians, Zion is like a picture of the Church.

Items for Discussion

  • Do you think our world will ever be united?
  • Do you think Christians will ever be united?
  • What are some examples of unity that you have personally been witness to?
  • Why is it so hard to be united with others?
  • What are the attributes that are visible in a person when they are open to unity?
  • What are the attributes that foster division?

Luke 17:5-6
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

mustard-seed-imageBackground

Let’s first look at the attributes of a mustard seed that would pertain to faith.

Mustard seeds can be traced to different areas of Europe and Asia with the white variety originating in the eastern Mediterranean regions, the brown from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, and the black from the Middle East. Mustard seeds are mentioned in ancient Sanskrit writings dating back about 5,000 years ago.

The seeds are usually about 1 to 2 millimeters (0.039 to 0.079 in) in diameter. However mustard bushes reach an average mature height of between 6 and 20 feet with a 20-foot spread, although exceptional plants can reach 30 feet tall under ideal conditions.

While mustard seeds were used for their culinary properties in ancient Greece, it seems that it was the ancient Romans who invented a paste from the ground seeds, which was probably the ancestor of our modern day mustard condiment. The physicians of both civilizations, including the father of medicine Hippocrates, used mustard seed medicinally.

The isothiocyanates 4 in mustard seeds have been repeatedly studied for their anti-cancer effects. In animal studies—and particularly in studies involving the gastrointestinal tract and colorectal cancer—intake of isothiocyanates has been shown to inhibit growth of existing cancer cells and to be protective against the formation of such cells.

Mustard seeds emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of selenium, a nutrient which that has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, decrease some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer. They also qualified as a good source of magnesium. Like selenium, magnesium has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, to lower high blood pressure, to restore normal sleep patterns in women having difficulty with the symptoms of menopause, to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, and to prevent heart attack in patients suffering from atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

Mustard seeds also qualified as a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids and manganese as well as a good source of phosphorus, copper, and vitamin B1.

The story of mustard seeds is recounted referring to faith in Luke 17:6-10 and Matthew 17:20. With reference to the Kingdom of Heaven it is mentioned in Luke 13:21 and Matthew 13:19. This parable referred to having a “mustard seed” type faith to someone that needs to have just enough faith to believe that anything is possible. As Jesus referred to a young man that was a “lunatic” (demon possessed) and had many sores on his body, he let the disciple’s know the young boy couldn’t be delivered from demons because they had no faith. The boy’s father came to the disciples for healing of his son and they couldn’t heal him for lack of faith. Jesus let them to know that all one needs is just a little faith and nothing is impossible. This Scripture is to remind those that are followers of Christ that it’s through their faith they can heal, cast out and pray for others.

Biblical Truths and Theology 5

Verse 5 – Disciples should not lead other people away from God. They should also be ready to forgive. This is not easy. It means that the disciples need God’s help. They realized this. So, they asked God to help them. They needed stronger faith in God’s power.

Verse 6 – A mustard seed is very tiny. A tree has strong roots. Jesus was using picture language. It seems impossible to do some things. But Jesus showed that even very little faith in God makes things possible.

Items for Discussion

  • What are all of the attributes of mustard seeds that you can relate to the type of faith we need to have?
    • Another way to look at this is why did Jesus pick the mustard seed and not a poppy seed, for example, which is smaller?
  • What can that kind of faith accomplish?
  • Why is a seed such as good example of faith?
  • Where did you get your “Mustard Seed?”
  • How does our world attack the concept of faith in the Lord?
  • What are the ways you found that heal and build your faith?

Discussion Challenge

  • How do you make your church a place to go to get your “Mustard Seeds?”

Notes:

  1. (NIV) New International Version Translations
  2. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/psalms/133.html
  3. http://www.easyenglish.info/psalms/psalm133-taw.htm
  4. The chemical group –N=C=S, formed by substituting the oxygen in the isocyanate group with a sulfur. Many natural isothiocyanates from plants are produced by enzymatic conversion of metabolites called glucosinolates.
  5. http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/matthew-lbw.htm
Share