- Nehemiah 11:1-12:30
“And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and they purified the people and the gates and the wall.” –Nehemiah 12:30, ESV
I must admit: in this day of grace, on this side of the cross, I don’t seem to grasp so clearly how dirty my sin truly is. The Israelites rebuilt the city, and when it was time to dedicate it to the Lord, they purified themselves “and the gates and the walls.” And as I ponder I realize, it wasn’t about the dirtiness of the people or the gates or the walls. It was about the holiness of God.
I have two chairs in my living room. One is a copper-brown color and one is an oatmeal-cream color. The copper-brown one is several years older than the oatmeal-cream. And I can tell you that I had not a second thought about kicking back in that with my running shoes on. The fabric covered a multitude of dirty shoe sins. But the oatmeal-cream one, I have a different approach to that one. It is always a barefoot or socked sitting. There are no dirty jeans or wet jackets or removing-shoes-from-a-run sittings in the oatmeal chair. The lightness of the fabric means it is more likely to show any smudge, even with stain-guard.
The point? God is a chair. (No, that is not the point.) God’s holiness is so much greater than anything we can attain, we must recognize our own wretchedness, not so we try to purify ourselves, but so we realize how amazing His grace truly is. How abundant is His love that He throws open the doors of His feast to us, the mangy, smelly, dirty ones. For most of you reading this, we aren’t even His original people! Grafted in from the Gentiles, He opened his kingdom and invited us in.
When you feel the weight of your sin, remember the holiness of God. Remember the robe of His salvation which He gave to you upon your acceptance of the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice. Remember the forgiveness of the sin that separated you from Him. And remember the Holy Spirit, the Great Comforter, Who abides with you every day to draw you closer to Him. Purify yourself by following Him.