Biblical Unity Precedes Revival Blessing

Bible Book: Psalms  133 : 1-3
Subject: Revival; Unity; Blessings From God

Dr. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) comments, “HERE, painted by the pen of inspiration held by David, is one of the most charming pictures in the entire Bible. It is a picture of brethren (not men only, but men and women and young people) of united minds, met together in unity.”[1]

Dr. John Phillips (1927-2010) laments, “It is sad that words as these could be penned:

To dwell above, with saints in love
That will indeed be glory;
To dwell below, with saints we know—
Well, that’s another story![2]

Psalm 133:1-3 reads, “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. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—Life forevermore.”

Notice three things from Psalm 133.

I. First, there is an axiomatic statement about unity.

The term “axiomatic” means “self-evident or obviously true.” Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) explains, “It is one of the axioms of theology that, if a man be lost, God must not be blamed for it; and it is also an axiom of theology that, if a man is saved, God must have all the glory of it.”[3]

Dr. Edgar Young Mullins (1860-1928) wrote a book titled, The Axioms of Religion in 1908, to provide six axioms of Baptist belief for the changing times of the early 20th Century.[4] Dr. Timothy George notes that Dr. E. Y. Mullins “hoped that his theology would serve the cause of irenicism and denominational unity in a time of tension and schism.”[5]

David declares the following axiomatic statement about unity in Psalm 133:1, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Obviously, unity it better than disunity. Disunity stinks! When believers dwell together in unity, it is good and pleasant. From the Holman Old Testament Commentary we learn, “‘Good’ (towb) means ‘excellent, choice, agreeable to the senses.’ Further, it is ‘pleasant’ (naiym), meaning that which is ‘sweet.’”[6]

Dr. Stephen F. Olford (1918-2004) explains, “The clause, ‘When brothers dwell in unity,’ has a fairly close parallel in Deut. 25:5, where it refers to an extended family living in dose quarters. Some have therefore seen the psalm as a plea to restore or preserve this social pattern. Such unity never exclaims about an item of personal property, ‘That's mine!’ but rather, ‘If you need it, it’s yours.’”[7]

II. Second, there is an aromatic scent to unity.

David gives two examples related to the aroma of unity in Psalm 133:2-3a, “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. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion. . . .” The oil, a mixture is known for its fragrance and the dew, a mist, is known for its freshness. Don Fleming, a prolific author and Bible teacher from Belmont, Queensland, Australia, explains, “The psalmist rejoices to see Israelites from all parts of the country worshipping together in unity in Jerusalem. He considers it a precious sight, having a pleasantness that he likens to the perfume of the sweet-smelling oils used to anoint Israel’s high priest. It has a freshness like the dew that falls on Mount Hermon (133:1-3).”[8]
It is regrettable that we have little sense of the scents related to certain events recorded in Scripture. For example, Dr. T. DeWitt Talmage preached a sermon on Luke 24:1 titled, “Aromatics for Easter.”

Dr. Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) preached a message on 2 Corinthians 2:14, titled, “The Sweet Smell of Victory.” His third point is “The Aroma of Victory.”

How much more effective would it be to have the aroma to identify with the situation. Ephesians 5:2 reads, “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Philippians 4:18 reads, “Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” As we have already noted, unity is “agreeable to the senses” and “sweet.” Therefore, we could say, “Unity has a sweet-smelling aroma.”

III. Third, there is an automatic securement from unity.

The term “securement” means, “the act of securing,” while the term “secure” means among other things, “To get possession of, acquire.”[9] According to our passage, the automatic securement of unity is blessing. Dr. Richard C. Halverson (1916-1995) affirms, “Believing God’s promises the Christian is taken through difficulties of every shape and size—and arrives safely.”[10]

David shares a tremendous benefit derived from unity in Psalm 133:3b, “For there the Lord commanded the blessing—Life forevermore.” Dr. Wayland Hoyt (1838-1910), former pastor of the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Strong Place Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York, explains, “[Unity] commands the Divine blessing.”[11] Dr. Archibald Geikie Brown (1844-1922), associate of Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon, also known as “Spurgeon’s Successor,” explains the benefit of unity in the following way: “‘There the Lord commanded the blessing.’ Not for us is it to command a blessing; we can but beg for it. But where is it that the Lord thus commands His blessing? Not where anger and strife, discord and division abound—these have turned many gardens of the Lord into howling wildernesses. But where love reigns—where the holy oil anoints pastor and people alike. May this oil never cease to flow upon the Church, and this Hermon never lack its dew.”[12]

There is a unity without God. The unity here differs from the unity of demonstrated at the Tower of Babel. Genesis 11:1-9 reads, “Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’ But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.”

There is a unity against God. Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon writes, “The Church of Christ is always quarreling; but did you ever hear that the devil and his confederates quarrel? There is a vast host of those fallen spirits, but how marvellously unanimous they ever are! They are so united that, if at any special moment the great black prince of hell wishes to concentrate all the masses of his army at one particular point, it is done to the tick of a clock, and the temptation comes with its fullest force just when he sees it to be the most likely that he will prevail.”[13]

The unity highlighted in Psalm 133 is like that featured in Ephesians 4:1-3 where Paul writes, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”


My friend, John Ambra, director of Development for Guidestone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, recently preached a message at the Precision Valley Baptist Church in Springfield, Vermont, on Psalm 133. In this message he stated the following:

“Unity in the Body. . .
Reflects God’s personhood
Refreshes God’s people

Reaches the perishing
Releases God’s power
Requires our pursuit.”[14]

According to Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908), “Dr. John Fawcett [1739-1817] was the pastor of a small church at Wainsgate, and was called from there to a larger church in London in 1772. He accepted the call and preached his farewell sermon. The wagons were loaded with his books and furniture, and all was ready for the departure, when his parishioners gathered around him, and with tears in their eyes begged of him to stay. His wife said, ‘Oh John, John, I cannot bear this.’ ‘Neither can I,’ exclaimed the good pastor, ‘and we will not go. Unload the wagons and put everything as it was before.’ His decision was hailed with great joy by his peo­ple, and he wrote the words of this hymn [“Blest be the Tie That Binds”] in commemoration of the event.”[15] These are the lyrics to the first and last stanza of that soul-stirring hymn:

Blest be the tie that binds

Our hearts in Christian love;

The fellowship of kindred minds

Is like to that above.

From sorrow, toil, and pain

And sin we shall be free,

And perfect love and friendship reign

Through all eternity.[16]

Acts 2:44 and 4:32-33 reads, “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common. . . . Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.” Maybe you are thinking this is Communism. In a sense it is, but in a sense it is not. It is as different as daylight and dark from the Humanistic Atheistic form of Communism popularized by Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) and others.

Acts 4:23-31 reads, “And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

Dr. Craig S. Keener explains the phrase translated “with one accord” simply means “together, in unity” (the same word occurs in Acts 1:14; Acts 2:46; Acts 5:12).”[17]
Note the unity in this Scriptural medley. Romans 12:5 reads, “We, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” 1 Corinthians 10:17 reads, “We being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” Ephesians 4:5 reads, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

Dr. LeRoy Eims (1925-2004) shares the following, “This is something I have observed over the years. People who are united in heart and mind receive the blessing of God on their lives and ministry. This united spirit is certainly one of the keys that unlocks the blessing of God and unleashes the power of God. Without this, the group invariably falls into disarray; morale sinks, and whatever motivation they had disappears.

I’m certain that unity was one of the prime reasons for the prayer of the Apostle Paul: ‘May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Rom. 15:5-6). Paul here revealed the grand purpose of unity: the glory of God. Obviously, the Lord is not glorified by group squabbles, disharmony, or contention. What glorifies God is like-mindedness and unity. Christian unity demonstrates that the group is controlled by the love and peace of Christ. Paul reminded the Philippians: Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. ‘Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the Gospel’ (Phil. 1:27).”[18]

Dr. Stephen F. Olford writes, “Some time ago I read through Dr. Edwin Orr's Second Evangelical Awakening in Britain. In this magnificent work he tells how revival swept the British isles over one hundred years ago. Analyzing the substance of his entire treatment, I came to the conclusion that two indispensable conditions for revival are unity and prayer. In the beautiful Psalm 133 we read: ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’ Having stated that fact, the psalmist goes on to say, ‘It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments.’ Then changing the analogy, the writer continues, ‘As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.’

What is the Holy Spirit saying to us in this psalm? It is that if we want the oil of fragrance, the dew of freshness, and the fullness of blessing that come with a heaven-sent revival, it will be only as we dwell together in unity! Remember that high priestly prayer of our Lord when He looked into His Father’s face and said, ‘I…pray…that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us’ (John 17:20-21). It is only when Christians come together in oneness that the wind of revival begins to blow upon the church—and God's presence and power are sensed and seen among His people.”[19]

Dr. A. W. Tozer asks, “Are we such that God can bless us? Do we have this unity of determination to glorify the Lord alone, of absorption in the Lord’s doings, of a determination to see the Lord work, of oneness in present expectation, of submission to the Lord and of resolution to put away everything that hinders? If we are, then we’re a united people and we may expect any time the oil that flowed on the head of Jesus to flow down over us and bring oil and blessing and life for evermore.”[20]

Remember, biblical unity precedes revival blessing.

[1]A. W. Tozer, Success and the Christian: The Cost of Spiritual Maturity, (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread Publishers, 1994), 86. Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[2]John Phillips, Exploring Hebrews: An Expository Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2002), 191.

[3]Exploring the Mind and Heart of the Prince of Preachers: Five-thousand illustrations under one-thousand topical headings from the works of C.H. Spurgeon, ed. Kerry James Allen, Part I, General Interest, (Oswego, IL: Fox River Press, 2005), 471. Database © 2009 WORDsearch Corp.

[4]E. Y. Mullins, The Axioms of Religion: A New Interpretation of the Baptist Faith (Philadelphia: The Judson Press, 1908).

[5]Timothy F. George, “Systematic Theology at Southern Seminary,” Review and Expositor, February, 82 (1985), 39.

[6]Holman Old Testament Commentary, ed. Max Anders, Psalms 76-150, Steven J. Lawson, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), 308. Database © 2013 WORDsearch.

[7]Stephen F. Olford, Expository Preaching Outlines – Volume 1. “Steadfast Continuance,” Sermon Notes, (Acts 2:42). Database © 2014 WORDsearch.

[8]Don Fleming, AMG Concise Bible Commentary, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publications, 2002), 216. Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[9]“Securement” / “Secure,” Accessed: 09/23/14,

[10]Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1992),150. WORDsearch, Corp.

[11]The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell, “Solidarity,” W. Hoyt, Psalms, Database © 2012 WORDsearch Corp.

[12]The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell, “Church Unity,” Archibald G. Brown, Psalms, Database © 2012 WORDsearch Corp.

[13]Exploring the Mind and Heart of the Prince of Preachers: Five-thousand illustrations under one-thousand topical headings from the works of C.H. Spurgeon, ed. Kerry James Allen, Part I, General Interest, (Oswego, IL: Fox River Press, 2005), 485. Database © 2009 WORDsearch Corp.

[14]John Ambra, “Unity in the Body,” Sermon Notes, (Psalm 133:1-3) (09/28/14)

[15]Ira David Sankey, Sankey’s Story of the Gospel Hymns and of Sacred Songs and Solos, (Philadelphia, PA: Sunday School Times, 1906), 73.

[16]John Fawcett, “Blest Be the Tie That Binds,” (1782).

[17]Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Database © 2003 WORDsearch Corp.

[18]LeRoy Eims, Be a Motivational Leader: Lasting Leadership Principles, (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2002), Chapter 11, Database © 2005 WORDsearch Corp.

[19]Stephen F. Olford, Heart-Cry for Revival, (New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1962), 89. Database © 2004 WORDsearch Corp.

[20]Tozer, Success, 100.

Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah and

Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice [Both available on in hardcover, paperback and eBook] & / / (251) 626-6210

© October 5, 2014 All Rights Reserved