Pastoral Letter 27 Nov 2022

My dear readers,

Where is Your Fortified Place?

Proverbs 10:29: "The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity."

Every man needs a place of safety in his life. Without it, he is insecure emotionally, mentally and physically. The place of safety for most people is their home. It is agonising for the homeless to wake up on the streets or in a cardboard box every morning. The world we live in demands a place of safety. Our mortal and frail body cries out for a place of safety. We may not go home every day, especially when we are on holiday for a season, but we know we have a home to go back to. This place of safety we call home brings peace of mind and heart! When this place of safety is shattered, our inner and outer man plunges into fear and grave mental insecurity. A person can go mad if his place of safety is destroyed.

Our homes are very well guarded. The more powerful you are, the better the security. We make it as safe as possible with what we have. However, when it is invaded and harassed, the mental strain is worse than the physical. We hesitate to leave home, fearing being harassed. When we come home we feel trepidation, fearing that we might meet the harasser and that a bad confrontation may be the outcome. If thieves have broken into our homes before, imagine how we would feel, especially if we have been tied up and physically abused. The safest place called home would include a frightful memory.

Many palaces and luxurious fortified homes do not bring safety that results in peace of mind. Quarrels and physical abuse have destroyed many luxurious safe-havens. To the world, a safe haven is inward. They find confidence in their accomplishments. They do well in their studies and find strength in being well-educated and knowing what they want to do with their lives. Others cling on to their status in society. Their status bring much power, especially when they are in a position of authority. They wield powers that control many lives to do their will! They cannot lose these intangible securities. When these are taken from them, they collapse inwardly and become a wreck.

The child of God knows better. All earthly securities are transient. On the other hand, all heavenly securities last forever. Proverbs 10:29 demonstrates this truth. The literal translation is, "A fortified place to the morally innocent is the well-trodden way of the LORD, but destruction shall be to the practitioner of iniquity." The key word in this verse is "morally innocent." The KJV translates the Hebrew word as "upright," which is correct as a morally innocent person is an upright person. Only born again believers have been made upright by God in Christ. He is a righteous person in Christ, as God has imputed the righteousness of the law into his heart. He experiences righteous motives and godly thoughts. These biblical experiences control all his desires. He loves to study the Bible, attends church for worship and fellowship, listens to God's Word, prays, and tells others about Jesus Christ.

This is the way of the LORD that he traverses with great joy and delight. He does his utmost to remain on this path of holiness. His life is fraught with trials and adversities like everyone else and perhaps even more as he lives for Christ, but God's peace remains in his heart. He trusts in His God, who has promised in His holy Word to protect and keep him safe forever. He refuses to turn his eyes away from Christ or to look to the world for safety and security! That was his old life which he will not return to like a dog returning to his own vomit! Bible verses such as Philippians 4:6-9 means everything to him. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."

He takes fasthold on the best doctrine in times of spiritual attacks to bring comfort and peace in his heart. It is the doctrine that teaches that his heavenly Father is all-powerful; He is sovereign as He is the Creator of all things! There are no accidents in his life. His place of security is to walk in holiness according to Holy Scriptures. When his heavenly Father is pleased with his life of faith, he feels the safest, even in the face of imprisonment and death!

He knows that in contrast, destruction will be to the practitioner of iniquity. All believers sin. But all believers do not practise iniquity. They will repent of their sin the moment it is made known to them. They do not blame and point fingers at others to mitigate their culpability. They understand that their forgiveness before God costs Jesus Christ His life's blood. They would never want to hold on to sin because to do so is a severe mockery of all that Christ has done for them! However, the one who refuses to repent and who maintains his innocence in the face of his sin will surely die. God will ultimately destroy all that he has done. If God shows mercy to him, He will destroy all his works in his lifetime to give him time to repent and turn to Christ.

The practitioner of iniquity is not an idolater who does not call himself a Christian. The LORD wrote the book of Proverbs for His people who are called by His Name. The target audience of Proverbs 10:29 is professing believers. Many believers today have an abundance of head knowledge of God's Word. Some have graduated from Seminaries or Bible Colleges. They might be professors in seminaries teaching God's Word in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek. Head knowledge means nothing to the LORD if the knowledge is not translated into obedience. A practitioner of iniquity is a carnal person. His pattern of life is sin. He knowingly disobeys God's Word and stubbornly refuses to repent of his many sins. He hides his sin until they are exposed, whether in life or death! He does not fear God. If he does, he would not hide his sins. His evil heart and thoughts are all known to God.

Yet these hypocrites continue to hide them as if God does not know and His eyes are blind! Their place of safety is carnality. Mammon is their god. They protect their bodies but not their souls! They live in fortified houses, but their souls are exposed to evil and death. Their false teachings lead many to hell. Their souls are hardened with every failure to repent. They begin to manifest evidence of being ordained unto destruction by the LORD. Their false sense of security and peace is likened to the proverbial ostrich who sticks his tiny head in the sand with his huge body exposed.

When they die in their sins, God will cast them into hell. This destruction from God is inescapable.

Conclusion – The way of the LORD is the consistent life of holiness in Christ according to Holy Scriptures. The upright is kept safe from sin in Christ by way of obedience. The practitioner of iniquity will be destroyed by his life of sin and carnality. The warning from Christ in Matthew 7:21-23 is very apt, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” May we all heed this warning of Christ and ensure that our fortified place is our holy life in Christ. Amen.

Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew
Advisory Pastor

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