“And the priests and the Levites purified themselves; and they purified the people, and the gates and the wall.” Nehemiah 12:30
We have here in Nehemiah 12 three words of great importance to us as believers. The first word is ‘dedication’, which is in verse 27. The second is ‘purified’, found in verse 30. The third word is ‘consecrated’ in verse 47.
What do all of the above words mean to us in our Christian lives? If these words meant a lot for the remnant in Nehemiah’s days, how much more should these words mean to us today?
The word ‘dedication’ means, in a practical form, to give oneself to something or someone. I think Romans 12:1 presents a clear meaning of dedication, ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the compassions of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your intelligent service.’ The remnant dedicated the wall of Jerusalem to God, so if the wall speaks of protection and separation from that which is outside, we need to dedicate ourselves, and the walls in us to God.
We now come to the word ‘purified’ in Nehemiah 12. Purification is only for the believer in order to cleanse what is defiled. We are in a world of sin, and wherever we go, and whatever we hear, and whatever we see in the world defiles us. Therefore, the Word of God purifies us, like water. We have the illustration in John 13, when our Lord Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. He said to Peter, ‘unless I wash thee, thou hast not part with me (Jn 13:8). So we see how important purification is, and we are purified by the ‘washing of the water by the word.’ But the priests and Levites purified themselves first. It is very important to purify ourselves first, then we can purify others, and then the assembly.
The last word in Nehemiah 12 is ‘consecrated.’ This means ‘to be set apart.’ Another word can be ‘sanctified.’ It is true that we need to be set apart from the world, but we also need to be set apart to God, in order to do His will. Consecration also means to be holy. We have in Leviticus 20:7, ‘and be holy; for I am Jehovah your God.’