Pastoral Letter 04 Feb 2024

My dear readers,

Can you or can you not come out of trouble?

Proverbs 12:13: “The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.”

Getting into trouble is normal. We are all born sinners. Furthermore, we live in a troubled world. There are wars and battles without end when man is killing, maiming and robbing one another because of greed and vanity in their hearts. Homes are miniature battlefields whereby broken homes have tragically become the norm rather than the exception. The office environment is a dog-eat-dog world where everyone fights to survive to climb the thorny corporate ladder that leads to vanity.

But getting out of trouble is life’s greatest struggle rather than the trouble itself. No matter how man tries, he never succeeds. He gets out of one, only to find himself in more considerable trouble. There is no escape for all who live in this troubled world. It seems that it might be easier to catch a falling star than to catch the ever-unreachable vapour called peace!

Yet the Bible has promised man that he can “come out of trouble” (Prov 12:13).

Let us first look at the wicked whose life is characterised by trouble. He is a troublemaker; everywhere he goes, everything he touches wreaks trouble! He is a robber of peace in every place he enters. He contaminates the hearts of everyone who comes into contact with him. The moment he opens his mouth, trouble spews out. Does the wicked not know that he snares himself when he opens his mouth? The literal translation of Proverbs 12:13 is: “By the transgression of his lips, the wicked is snared: but the just shall come out of trouble.”

The kind of words that snare him include:-

  • Murmurings – He is an unhappy person who fails to realize the sovereignty of God. If he understands the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, he will see all things as good for him, which comes from his loving heavenly Father. To murmur like the Israelites in the wilderness is a severe transgression of lack of trust in God;
  • Slanders – The word “devil” means “slanderer”. To slander someone is to do the work of the devil. The devil cannot reach many in the church because they stay away from people and places in the world that might ruin or hurt their testimony. However, when they meet “friends” at Bible Study or discussion groups, they expect to study God’s Word but are fed slanders instead. To slander is to assassinate a person’s character. In this context, it will be someone’s holy witness for Christ. A slanderer undermines the name of Christ that a believer bears! Slandering is a heinous sin in God’s eyes (cf. Proverbs 6:16-19);
  • Gossips -- He may claim to be sharing the “truth”, but when it is shared with others who have nothing to do with the issue or person, it becomes gossip. The view of the victim in the eyes of those who heard his “truth” may be affected, as well as their relationship with the victim. The sad part is that they may not clarify with the victim but believe it without investigation, which the Bible commands all of us to do;
  • Deceptions or Half-truths – To lie is to tell nothing that is truthful. Half-truths are more deadly because they have elements of truth, which makes the words more believable. They deceive, as were the old serpent’s words to Eve in the Garden of Eden (cf. Genesis 3:1-5). Many have fallen prey to half-truths in theology, especially from “distinguished personalities” they respect.
  • Lies – God categorically condemns liars. They will not inherit the kingdom of God. God will cast them into the Lake of Fire. Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

The wicked cannot escape trouble because he is the personification of trouble!

Conversely, the just knows how to come out of all troubles.

Firstly, he avoids troubles because the Bible is the lamp unto his feet and light unto his path. He avoids people and places that will jeopardise his holy witness for Christ. He knows that Christ has sent him into the world as sheep among wolves. The best way to come out of trouble is to not fall into trouble. He is careful to guard his holy testimony for Christ and not allow His blessed Name to be tarnished or diminished in any way.

Secondly, he repents and bears the consequences when he gets into trouble due to his fault. He refuses to point fingers. He knows he is not perfect and will make mistakes, and the only way to restore the holy image of Christ is to repent sincerely from the heart. Genuine repentance always bears fruits of repentance where the believer makes restitution to the ones he has sinned against. Repentance is more than just saying or feeling sorry for wrongdoing. He is very sorry for what he has done wrong and regrets it severely, and with repentance he returns to God in holiness by obeying God’s Word. He will do whatever is necessary according to the Scriptures to restore the holy image of Christ in his life.

Thirdly, if the trouble he falls into is a snare from persecutors or wicked men, he will repent for wrongdoing, as mentioned above, without vengeance. He follows the instruction of his Saviour and Lord according to Matthew 5:44-45: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” To become bitter and take vengeance is to sin further. The just knows that the real issue is not a wrestling against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces in high places. He responds in holiness, and not in sin. He knows from the Bible that the snare of the evil one is to get God's children to fall into sin and compromise their holy witness of Christ. Those who are wicked are minions of the devil. They will persecute or seduce God’s children into sin. Believers must beware, and not fall further into the snares, or to sin by holding grudges and refusing to forgive.

Fourthly, if the trouble is not anyone’s fault, like a global recession, the believer will continue to trust in the LORD since he knows that the God of the Bible is the God of heaven and earth. Nothing happens in heaven and earth without His sovereign will and permission. Such global events do not bother him, as he understands that these events will culminate in the coming of the Antichrist. The Word of God is the eyeglasses that help him see and evaluate all events in life and the world.

Can you or can you not come out of trouble?

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

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