Have you ever shopped for jewelry? I have no interest in jewelry, myself. In spite of this, a question from a sister helped me to see an important object lesson in a jewelry store. Do we properly distinguish between the holy and the profane? Which is more valuable: a ruby or God’s Word?
An Object Lesson in Jewels
When someone shops for jewelry, they are free to browse around and look at the various gems behind protective glass. The sales clerk will likely offer to help them shop. However, unless the customer requests it, the clerk is not going to take one out for a closer look. Even when the customer does ask to see, say, a ruby ring, the clerk will take it out themselves and hold it up carefully for the customer to look closer. They only let the customer try it on if they seem very likely to buy it.
Why? Because of the great value of gold, silver, and jewels. Not only is there a high risk of theft—that would be bad enough! But if all and sundry could freely pick them up whenever they wanted, they could easily smear, tarnish, or even damage those precious jewels.
Separating the Holy from the Profane
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
— Matthew 7:6
The Bible is full of precious truths more valuable than any ruby, pearl, or even pure gold. It is the holy Word of the great Jehovah. Do we at least handle its sacred pages with as much care as a hired clerk does a diamond? Or do we push our jewels into the hands of the profane and careless multitude—the scoffers, jesters and doubters? Do we ourselves open up those sacred pages with awe and reverence? Or do we read it as any other book?
Her priests have violated My Law, and have profaned Mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
— Ezekiel 22:26
Where Is Our Humility?
Please consider these words from the pen of inspiration. Do we really consider what it means to study the holy Word of God? Do we realize that we are entering into His presence when we open those sacred pages?
God desires man to exercise his reasoning powers; and the study of the Bible will strengthen and elevate the mind as no other study can. Yet we are to beware of deifying reason, which is subject to the weakness and infirmity of humanity. If we would not have the Scriptures clouded to our understanding, so that the plainest truths shall not be comprehended, we must have the simplicity and faith of a little child, ready to learn, and beseeching the aid of the Holy Spirit. A sense of the power and wisdom of God, and of our inability to comprehend His greatness, should inspire us with humility, and we should open His word, as we would enter His presence, with holy awe. When we come to the Bible, reason must acknowledge an authority superior to itself, and heart and intellect must bow to the great I AM.
— E.G. White, Steps to Christ, pp. 109-110
This Is a Solemn Matter
Let us remember the holiness of God’s Word, my brothers and sisters. Let us come to the Scriptures with awe and humility to learn. And especially let us remember how precious are these truths that have been provided to us by the blood of the Son of God (and many martyrs) whenever we share them with others. Let us ask God for wisdom to know when someone shows real interest in the truth—and how much we should share with them—and when a person would just profane that which is holy. Beloved, let us all follow the counsel of the apostle:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
— 1 Peter 3:15