Pastoral Letter 23 Jan 2022
My dear readers,
“Are you a Man of Belial?”
Proverbs 16:27: “An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.”
The literal translation of Proverbs 16:27 is: “A man of Belial digs up evil: and upon his lips are as a burning fire.” He is definitely an ungodly man who follows in the footsteps of worthlessness. How worthless you might ask? Let us look at the first occurrence of the word “Belial” to find out its usage meaning.
The first occurrence of the word “Belial” in the Old Testament was in Deuteronomy 13:13: “Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known.” The context of Deuteronomy was a stern warning to all Israelites that if anyone in any city in Israel was to bow down to idols and was to teach others to do the same, then the city had to be completely destroyed. This would be done after due diligence had been taken to make certain the facts of the case because thousands could die because of such an evil teaching.
The whole city would become unclean and must be razed to the ground as it was under a curse! Deuteronomy 13:15-17: “Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again. And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers.”
The compound word “Belial” literally means “without profit.” He is one who is worthless in the eyes of the LORD. In all the 37 occurrences of the word in the Old Testament, the usage remains the same in every context. However, hundreds of years later after the close of the Old Testament canon, the word was used to refer to Satan. 2 Corinthians 6:15: “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” It became a nickname given to Satan, describing him as one who is worthless. Anyone who follows him will also be considered worthless by God. In the eyes of the world, such a person may be a brilliant man in his field of expertise. He could also be very well respected and connected to people in authority. He is probably very wealthy and influential and commands respect from the people around him based upon his worldly accomplishments. The people will usually whisper whenever he approaches because he seems to have a self-aggrandised aura. He thinks that everyone wants to know him and be connected with him because of the great things he has done and is able to do in the world.
Such a one is a prime example of an ungodly man or a man of Belial. He is worthless in the eyes of God because mammon is his god. He lavishes in it. All that he has is worthless in eternity. He fails to realize that naked he came into this world and naked he will return. All that seems to be gold and precious in his blinded eyes is nothing but fool’s gold. It has the appearance of something precious but he wastes his life pursuing this vanity. Such a one cannot accept rejection or being marginalised. What will he do to anyone who does not “kowtow” to him or refuse to gravitate to him?
Proverbs 16:27 teaches us that such a man will dig up evil, even when evil is nowhere to be found. He will dig up the evil of the people whom he despises and envies. His aim is to destroy them. Everyone makes mistakes in life and service. It will not be hard for the man of Belial to dig up evil. He will obviously spin it to his advantage to cause maximum damage. Half-truths are the best because they have the semblance of truth. One of the most common ways is to befriend as many people as possible especially those who are gullible and without discernment.
Another way is to make them beholden to him so that they will feel compelled to take his side even though they know that he is spinning them half-truths. The modus operandi is through his words, either in writing or verbally. The LORD describes such lips as “burning fire.” A burning fire cannot be put out and will spread and destroy everything it touches. There is not enough space in all the pages of the books of the world to contain all the accounts of careless words and the innumerable lives they have destroyed through the ages. The frightful thing is that its destructive power still burns brightly and with greater speed now that the internet world is a world where words thrive. The kinds of platforms available for billions of people to upload their “words” are inexhaustible. It is so large that it is called a virtual world!
The expected great tragedy is that these burning fiery lips are found inside churches today. They belong to the wolves in sheep’s clothing or angels of light masquerading as children of God to deceive and to destroy the work of God. One of the most effective ways is to sow seeds of discord to ruin relationships and destroy brotherly love among the brethren. Some of them even infiltrate the leadership to inflict maximum damage. This is the devil’s ploy. Whatever it takes to succeed, the devil will employ. He has no principles or scruples, being the father of lies. Deceptions, lies and manipulations are all used diabolically with masterful success. These lies include false doctrines and character assassinations. Seminaries, Bible Colleges and churches have been laid to waste by the devil and his evil minions.
Lives have been ruined by undercover agents of the devil who infiltrate by becoming members. They will befriend children of God who unsuspectingly trust them, believing that they are also believers. One of the more common methods is to garner support through so-called friendships and when they are exposed and are about to leave huffing and puffing, they will try to burn as many lives as possible. They leave behind a trail of ruined and hurt lives as an evil legacy of their tenure in the ministry. They just will not leave quietly but will drag some broken and disillusioned victims with them. There is an element of the Belial in them that seems to trigger such fiery evil from their lips. Not all will leave. Some will remain to continue the work of Belial. They will gossip and speak ill of people to burn lives and reputations like flame throwers pouring oil to keep their fire burning. They do so in the guise of “sharing.”
The only way to deal with men of Belial is to rebuke them the moment they open their fiery lips to destroy lives. They must be stopped to save the God-given unity among brethren and also the lives of God's people. We must be our Christian brothers’ and sisters’ keepers to protect each other’s spiritual well-being for the glory of God and Christ. True Christian love among brethren is hard to find. Once it is present, protect it at all costs. This is how the psalmist David described it in Psalm 133: “A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” Amen.
Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew