“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there YHWH has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” (Psalm 133, ESV)
One of the highest goals we can have for a Torah-obedient home is to have all our family members living together in unity. The ideal home is one in which we go beyond a basic desire to see no quarreling or devouring one another (Galatians 5:15). We go even further, and we delight in each other, we are dear to one another, and we promote each other’s welfare by serving one another.
I was especially touched by the old commentary of Matthew Henry on Psalm 133, so I’ve used some of his thoughts to brainstorm ways in which we can all encourage our children to dwell together in unity.
How Good It Is
It is tov (good and excellent) when brothers and sisters get along! This is the same word YHWH used of His creation. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good [tov]” (Genesis 1:31). Think of that! He thinks that a home filled with unity is as beautiful and magnificent as His own creation! Frankly, it takes some work and “creative ability” on the part of parents to cultivate this spirit in a home.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Sometimes people just can’t get along, so they separate to prevent strife and wars. For instance, Abraham and Lot went their separate ways because Abraham wanted there to be no more quarreling between them and their servants (Genesis 13:8-9). However, the good thing is for brothers to live together — and more than to live together, to live together in unity. Some translations say it, “To dwell together unified” or “to dwell together as one.”
“So if there is any encouragement in Messiah, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Messiah Yeshua, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:1-8).
The Master Yeshua taught his disciples to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10). We can be absolutely sure that unity in the home is our Father’s will, for it makes our homes have a taste of the kingdom on earth. It is a glimpse of the Messianic age!
Unity and love brings constant delight to each person who has the privilege of living in a home like this. It is also rare, but because it is rare, it is of extreme value, both to ourselves and our children and also to those who see our good deeds and give glory to our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
How Pleasant It Is
In Tzav, this week’s Torah portion, we read in Leviticus 8:12 about the precious essential oils that were poured on Aaron’s head. So much of the anointing oil was used that it ran down on his beard and down on the collar of his robes! Can you imagine the strong perfume that filled all the bystanders with delight?
This oil was holy, only to be used for anointing sacred things (Exodus 25:6, Exodus 30:30-33). It was devoted to God and used for His purposes. In the same way, love for others comes from a love for God. We don’t love others because they deserve it or have merited our favor; we love others for His sake and because of the love He has for them.
“Everyone who believes that Yeshua is the Messiah has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him” (1 John 5:1).
This oil was also made according to a unique recipe that was inspired by God Himself. God directed and commanded both the ingredients and the quantities used (Exodus 30:22-25). In the same way, God knew what ingredients would bring unity and pleasantness to a home, and He teaches us to use these ingredients to love one another. In fact, it is only by His grace that we would even desire to lay self aside for the needs and desires of others.
Above all, this oil was very precious and expensive. God showed love to us at great price, the blood of His only begotten Son Yeshua. It is very precious in God’s sight when we lay down our lives for the love of others.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16).
Finally, note that until Aaron and his sons were anointed with this oil, their services were not acceptable to God. In this same way, without the oil of unity and love in a home, He will not use our families in His service.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:1-7).
How Profitable It Is
Love and unity in the home is like the dew that falls on the earth each night. It is profitable. It makes things grow abundantly. It cools down the heat of anger and passion. It is refreshing. It softens hearts. It makes the hearts of our children more ready to receive the good seed of the word (Mark 4:3-8, 20).
Unity and love is like dew falling in two places: Mount Herman and Mount Zion. Mount Herman wasn’t a mountain where YHWH was worshiped. Matthew Henry says that, although beautiful, it was just a common mountain. Mount Zion, on the other hand, is the hill devoted to the worship of YHWH.
Unity in the home contributes greatly to the fruitfulness of our relationships both with the world and with our fellow believers. Do you want to change the world? Promote unity and love in your home!
“Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from YHWH, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the children of man. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest…” (Micah 5:7-8).
How Blessed It Is
Loving people are blessed people. In fact, when brothers live together in unity, Scripture says, “For there YHWH has commanded the blessing” (Psalm 133:3).
We beg for blessings from YHWH, but when He commands a blessing to be on our home, we can be sure it will happen! When He speaks, it is done.
“He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac,
which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance'” (Psalm 105:8-11).
This blessing is an eternal blessing. It reminds me of the blessing we have when we teach the Torah to our children:
“I YHWH thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments” (Deuteronomy 5:9-10).
How Practical It Is
If a loving and unity-filled home sounds like an impossible dream, don’t despair! You can do this, for YHWH says of His commands,
“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off… But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it” (Deuteronomy 30:11, 14).
Here are several tips that can help you cultivate a good and pleasant spirit of unity in your home.
- Do not allow a spirit of hatred and murder to live in your home. In Matthew 5:21-26, Yeshua tells us that to hate our brother is to murder him! Do not allow hitting or any form of hatred and unkindness to go unpunished. In fact, in our home, hitting, biting, and similar offenses are punished with spanking, for if a child grew up to murder another, he was to surely be put to death. (See Exodus 21:12-36.)
- Do not allow disobedience to the commands of YHWH, such as “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony against your neighbor, you shall not covet… anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:13-17). These sins are at the root of almost all disagreements in a home, wouldn’t you agree? Correct bad behavior immediately! Do not allow it take root in your home or in the hearts of your children!
- Teach your children to forgive one another. Yeshua taught us that we should forgive others even as we have been forgiven for our own trespasses (Matthew 6:12). Help your children see that forgiveness of others is based upon the mercy and forgiveness given to us by our Father, even though we did not deserve it.
- Teach your children to reconcile and settle matters quickly (Matthew 5:23-26, Matthew 18:15-17, Ephesians 4:25-32). Arguments should be settled as quickly as possible, first by teaching the child to go to his brother or sister, then to bring a witness along, and then finally to report it to “the assembly” (Dad and Mom). Reconciliation should be made quickly before the sun goes down.
- Teach your children how to treat “one another.” A very practical study is to find all the times “one another” is mentioned in Scripture, discussing each verse with your children. Some good verses to start with are “in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3); “bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another” (Colossians 3:13); and “be devoted to one another in brotherly love; honor one another above yourselves; share…” (Romans 12:9-21).
- Teach your children to be sensitive to the needs of others and to serve others. This can start by simply having each child serve others through faithfully doing his chores. Help him to see work around the home, no matter how small, as a way to serve one another. Teach him to help those who are helpless, such as small children, remembering that he was once small himself and in need of help and care. Finally, teach him to look outside the walls of his home to the needs of humans everywhere in our world.
- Teach your children to love their neighbor as themselves (Leviticus 19:18). As you all go throughout your days, think of those coming behind you. What can you do to bless others, or what can you do to protect others? Can you pick up the toys on the stairs so that others will not fall? Can you get a cup of water for a thirsty sibling? Can you pick up someone else’s underwear? Can you say “please” and “thank you,” meaning these words from the heart? Can you listen when someone wants to talk to you, and can you give them a smile?
- Write the commands of YHWH on the walls of your home. This post has been filled with Scripture. We highly recommend that you write these words on your walls, or print them out and frame them. Not only will they help you teach your children; these words will hold you parents accountable, so that you will remember to not allow evil to reside within the walls of your home.
Our prayer is that you will know how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!