Passage: Nehemiah 12:1~47  

Key verse: 43

The list provided in verses 1-26 gives us insight into the division and structure of spiritual leadership at the time. Their family lineage is also recorded to verify their legitimacy.

In preparation for the dedication of the wall, the priests and the Levites ceremonially purified themselves first and then purified the people, the gates, and the wall (30). Ceremonial cleansing signifies the spiritual revival Israel experienced as they confessed their sins and made a covenant to obey God's Law. The priests and Levites were no exception for the need to purify.

There was a grand ceremony as Ezra and Nehemiah each led a large choir to march along the wall, and the two groups joined in the house of God (40). All the people, including women and children, greatly rejoiced (43). Out of their joy, they also gave firstfruits and tithes to provide for the priests, Levites, and temple workers. They gave this offering to keep their covenant with God, and it was also an expression of their honor and respect for the house of God and the people working there. What practical actions do we take to express our joy in God?

Prayer: Father, in times of great celebration, help us honor you by dedicating the center of our hearts. Help us also to find ways to practically serve you and your people.

One Word: God had given them great joy.