Text: Deuteronomy 4:9-10

Last year, we learnt the importance of loving God with our all. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30). Those who love God will also fear Him. “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13) Thus, the church theme for year 2024 is, The Fear of the LORD. Indeed, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7)

However, why do we need to learn the fear of God? Does it not come naturally? Alas, the Scriptures teach otherwise. “There is no fear of God before their eyes… For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:18, 23) As a result, man will do great evil before the Lord. “The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.” (Psalm 36:1-4)

But do we not read in other portions of Scripture of unregenerate men who fear God? For example, the wicked men of Samaria who were placed there by the Assyrians were said to have feared the LORD (2 Kings 17:32-33). Yet this fear of God did not lead them to obey God. They installed their own priests to appease God but continued to serve their idols. This kind of fear of God springs forth from a cringy anxious dread of God due to unrelieved guilt from a broken relationship with God. It is a horror born out of the fear of punishment but the heart still clings on stubbornly in its disobedience to God. 2 Kings 17:41 gives the damning assessment of the unbelieving nations, “So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.” (2 Kings 17:41) This fear is no different from the fear of God which the devils possess. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19). This is not the fear which pleases God.

What then is the fear which God desires? It is a trembling, reverential trust based upon the true awareness and knowledge of His awesome person and character. A biblical fear of God will lead man to depart from evil (Prov. 16:6) and keep the commandments of God (Deut. 8:6). Do you have such a heart? “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29)

The fear of the LORD must thus be learnt. Deuteronomy 4:9-10 says, “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.” The Lord wants His people to learn what it means to fear Him and to teach them to the succeeding generations. This is what we intend to achieve by the grace of God in the year 2024.

May we in Tabernacle BPC learn to only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all our heart: for consider how great things he hath done for us (1 Samuel 12:24).


Update of The Church Premise Fund

The church building fund stands at $154,725.00 as of last Lord’s Day (31 December 2023). This falls short of the intended target of $500,000 by the end of the year 2023. As of this moment, the Lord has not directed the Board of Elders and Session of the Church with regards to the purchase of any property or parcel of land. Nevertheless, we continue to remain sensitive to the Lord with regards to this matter.

One recent development is the change of the bidding process for parcels of land allotted for religious use. According to the Ministry of National Development, land for places of worship will be allocated through a ballot rather than awarded to the highest bidders. This is part of the government’s initiative to make it more equitable for religious groups that have less chances and thus a lower chance of winning competitive tenders (The Straits Times, May 29, 2023)

The Session of the church is monitoring how the bidding process is taking place with this new initiative. The first land sale for church development under this new initiative is a plot in Jalan Kayu. Interestingly, a deposit of $150,000 is required to participate in the ballot, which is close to what we have in the church premises fund currently.

Last month, a second plot of land was put up for sale. The location is at Tampines Street 86, very near to the residence of some of our brethren. We will continue to seek God in prayer according to this matter. If the Holy Spirit directs, let us move with all our might. We are confident in the Lord that God’s people will give that which is necessary in the promotion of God’s kingdom.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew