Friday, December 13, 2019

Outdoor Object Lesson 108: A Holy Toothbrush

Key Text

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. You shall labor six days, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to The Lord your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; for in six days The Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore The Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:8-11‬ ‭(WEB)‬‬ Paraphrased


What does it mean for something to be holy? Since we don’t have a temple like they did in Bible times, it can be a foreign concept. In modern times, especially in the West, we treat nearly everything casually. Western culture prizes a laid-back attitude. So it can be a stretch for those of us raised in this culture to fully grasp the concept of a holy object. Yet, it is something God takes extremely seriously.

In the Old Testament there are stories that seem harsh to our modern sensibilities. For example, when the Ark of the Covenant was being moved back to Jerusalem in the time of King David, as the Ark rocked sideways off the cart, Uzziah reached out to steady it. Because it was against the law for him to touch, God struck him dead on the spot (2 Sam. 6). The Ark of the Covenant was a holy object. In fact, it was the Most holy object in Israel. When God declares something holy, that means it is dedicated to a special purpose. It should not be treated casually. It should always be respected no matter what. To disrespect it is to disrespect what God has said. Think about it like this.

A toothbrush is something very important and personal. If you have ever gone camping you understand this well. It’s not healthy to go days without brushing. More importantly, your toothbrush is to remind yourself of home and help you feel somewhat clean even if the rest of your body is dirty. When camping, you must leave a lot of comforts at home. You don’t get to take a shower every day if at all, you might have to go to the bathroom outside. If you’re a dedicated backpacker you might not even take deodorant to save weight. A toothbrush is small and light enough to take camping. So brushing your teeth gives a nice clean feeling when the rest of you feels dirty and is a good reminder of home. Some backpackers are so dedicated to saving weight but also having their toothbrush they cut most of the handle off!

Your toothbrush is your's alone. You would never want anyone else to use it for anything without your permission. You would be most deeply offended if you came to the tent and saw someone else brushing their teeth with your toothbrush! You might be angry enough to hurt someone if you found them using your toothbrush to clean the mud off their shoes! You would consider that brush dirty, defiled. You would probably never use it again and get a new one. That toothbrush is holy unto you. It is meant for one purpose. It is meant for one person alone.

When God declares something holy, he takes holiness to a much higher level, because he is the God of the universe. He is the giver of life and has the right to take life back when we defile his holy objects. God does not owe us anything, we owe him everything, including our lives. So while it seems harsh for God to kill those who violate his holy laws, it’s not unjust. While we may live in a very casual society, God still expects us to keep things holy that he has declared as such. The Sabbath is perhaps the most important one. God asks us to dedicate one day a week exclusively to him. It is holy unto him. We are not to defile it by treating it like any other day. As we grow spiritually, we will learn to see the Sabbath as a gift and a blessing. We will learn to value it like a toothbrush on a camping trip because it is a taste of home. The Sabbath is a reminder of the comfort and cleanliness of our true home in heaven.


Can you think of some other things God has declared holy?

Why do you think God chose to strike Uzziah dead on the spot?

How can you grow to love and appreciate God's holy objects?

How can you keep the Sabbath holy?

Written by David F. Garner
Photo credit: Monfocus via

SDA Belief Series #20