Pastoral Letter 10 Jul 2022
My dear readers,
What Kind of Savings Account Do You Have?
Proverbs 10:14: “Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.”
When our children were very young, the Singapore government encouraged parents to open saving accounts for them. This is a good thing as saving for the future is a valuable and prudent endeavour. Savings on earth can only be done in this lifetime. It begins when there is an income. If there is no income, it is impossible to save. Our children depend on us to help them save. Chinese New Year “ang pow” money will be put into their savings accounts. This reminds parents to save as well, for how can we help our children to save when we do not save for our future!
Retirement from labour is the end of all man. No man works without retirement in mind. He knows that as he ages, his bodily strength declines. The mind is usually the last to decline. Those whose work demands hard labour will be the first to feel the aches and pains of aging. Their savings become more significant as they live on after retirement; they have to ensure that they have saved enough in order to continue with their present way of life. Singaporeans, I believe, are great savers. Christian Singaporeans are even greater savers as they stay away from the vices of smoking, gambling and drinking that waste away hard-earned savings! Yet, with all the savings, it is a short-sighted endeavour. The reason is that material savings of every form provide only safety and comforts of life on earth. They are powerless in providing for what comes after life on earth ends. Is it possible for earthly man to save today so as to impact their life after death?
Proverbs 10:14 answers this very pertinent and urgent question. The Bible says that the wise will lay up (i.e. hoard) knowledge. We know that hoarding is abhorrent when it comes to material things because of decay. It is considered a sickness when hoarding is extreme. But all of us have a tendency to hoard. We call it “saving for the future.” We hoard things that do not decay or lose value but might increase in value. These are called investments. But is it not a form of hoarding?
God says the wise will hoard knowledge. The only knowledge on earth that does not decay is God’s Word. God’s Word is eternal. It never passes away or decays, and cannot be replaced. Matthew 24:35: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” The Bible needs no new edition, unlike the words of man. Who then is considered wise by God? The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. All of us have sinned against God, for we are born in sin and have committed innumerable sins. The worst is the sin of idolatry. We have nothing to make restitution before God to take away His wrath from us. God who is the holy God cannot ignore our sins. All sinners must be punished by death. This is God’s justice revealed to Adam in Genesis 2:15-17. Our good works to compensate for our sins are as filthy rags in His holy sight. Isaiah 64:6: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Man is hopelessly in sin and awaiting death, to be finally and deservedly cast into hell by God. That is why we must be very afraid of God!
This fear drives us to God in humility as we deeply mourn for our sins. We cry to God for help and forgiveness, pleading for mercies all the time. God’s reply is that He sent Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son to suffer and die in our place, as our perfect and holy substitute. He became our vicarious atoning sacrifice when He died on the cross of Calvary. God says that all we need to do is to confess with our mouth and believe in our heart that Christ died for us, and He rose from the dead for our justification, and all our sins will be forgiven. The journey of wisdom begins with receiving Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour. In other words, all born-again believers are wise because they have been made wise by God in Christ.
The sinner who believes in Christ is wise. With this wise beginning, he continues to lay up (i.e. hoard) knowledge, which is the knowledge of God found only in the Bible. There is now an insatiable thirst and hunger for God’s Word within his soul that never existed before. He cannot wait for Sunday to arrive so that he can worship God and hear His Word. He desires to begin and end the Lord’s Day worshipping and hearing His Word. He tries to attend as many Bible study sessions as possible to grow in grace and knowledge of his God. What Jesus said to Satan to rebuke him in Matthew 4:4 becomes real and very meaningful, for he feels it in his soul: “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” He memorizes the Word of God and applies all he learns into his life. He hoards God’s knowledge in his heart, for he knows that God’s knowledge is eternal and continues to be useful in heaven and his life after this life.
Conversely, God warns us that “the mouth of the foolish (i.e. perverse) is near destruction” (Prov 10:14). All unbelievers and professing believers who are not born-again are fools (i.e. perverse) in God’s sight. They do not know God and save only for today but not tomorrow, i.e. life after death. They live in sin and carnality. Their mind and heart are filled with the knowledge of the world and the desires of the earth. Their mouths will convict and condemn them. The words they utter are unbiblical. Even when their words are biblical, their lives are not. The fools who are found in churches are the greatest fools, for they are so close to heaven and yet are still found outside of heaven. They lay up earthly treasures knowing that they will perish; they are not wise in Christ to lay up treasures in heaven by laying up God’s knowledge in their heart. Every time they hear the gospel they are “brought” to the gates of heaven by God. All they need to do is to repent of their sins and humble themselves by surrendering their all to Christ and receive the forgiveness of God in Christ to “step inside.” But they keep refusing by holding on to their sinful ways and will not surrender their all to Him. They choose to die in their sins standing outside the pearly gates of heaven! Is this not the action of a fool?
The life of such a fool is that he is always near (i.e. close) to destruction. Do we not know that death is always a breath away? The foolish of Proverbs 10:14 does not refer to the fools of the world who do not know God, but rather to professing believers who are not really believers. Was not the Book of Proverbs written for the people of God? The fool’s life of sin makes him a candidate for death over and over again as he skirts death and destruction by the carnal ways that he lives. He smokes knowing that he is being killed by it. He gambles knowing full well that he is becoming a slave to it. He drinks knowing that it will drown him in his sorrow. He lives in sin as if God is blind and dead. There is no fear of God in him and he is found in God’s house! His life of carnality and sin destroys the lives of others as well as his own. His wife and children are ruined by him.
Many lives that have come into contact with these professing Christians who live in pseudo-holiness on Sundays and true-carnality from Monday to Saturday have been ruined. They hate this false Christ that is portrayed week after week, for years. Because of these pseudo-holy professing believers, all who are near them are destroyed for eternity because they have rejected Jesus Christ whom they believe to be the Jesus of the Bible. They think that the Christ they rejected is a hypocrite because the Christian fool is a hypocrite. By these fools’ transgressions and misrepresentation of Christ, are they not daring God to strike them? Are they not close to their own destruction? Are they not drawing others into the same destruction by their wrong teachings of God’s Word?
Let us save wisely. Let us save the knowledge of God’s Word that perishes not, instead of the things of the earth that will perish.
Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew