Come August 9th, Singapore will celebrate her 57th National Day. Our tiny city state has come a long way since that eventful day in 1965 when we separated from Malaysia to become a sovereign and independent nation.
Singapore is just a dot on the world map. But God has graciously blessed us with a good government, peace, stability and safety. Though comparatively small, our country is now a thriving metropolis with one of the world’s highest per capita incomes. Looking back, it was the sheer tenacity and sharp foresight of our national leadership under the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew that enabled us to survive those tumultuous years and catapulted our tiny nation from “Third World to First”. Today, our “little red dot” ranks among the world’s most successful and progressive nations. In fact, one recent poll lists Singapore as “the world’s most competitive country”.
As Christians, we believe that Singapore is where it is today because of God’s favour: “Mercy and truth preserve the king and His throne is upholden by mercy” (Prov 20: 28), In this troubled and turbulent world, no place is safe. But we thank God that in spite of the global chaos and upheavals, Singaporeans enjoy peace, safety and a comfortable life. We also enjoy the freedom to worship God each Sabbath Day. Indeed, we are grateful to the Lord for every blessing upon our land.
As we recount God’s blessings upon our nation, let us be mindful of our duties as citizens. What is required of us as Christians? For the answer, let us look at the exhortation of the apostle Paul to his spiritual son in I Timothy 2: 1-4: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
God uses our country’s leaders to fulfil His purposes on earth (Rom 13: 1-7). We ought to intercede and give thanks “for all men” (v 1), to pray “for kings, and for all that are in authority” (v 2a) – in particular, our President, Prime Minister and Members of Parliament. Pray for God’s grace and wisdom upon our leaders to do that which will promote the well-being of the people. Pray for courage to rule wisely, and to make decisions that will preserve the peace, security, and moral standards of our country.
With the raging pandemic, our government faced real challenges in their efforts to manage the healthcare system and the spike in infections. Their swift and efficient response to the pandemic – with border controls, isolation, mass testing, contact tracing and emphasis on social responsibility – has helped to contain the outbreak.
Our leaders need our prayers “for they have many difficulties to encounter, many snares to which their exalted stations expose them” (Matthew Henry). Such faithful supplication for our leaders brings a special blessing, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (v 2b).
We honour God when we obey the law of the land and live peaceably with our neighbours in our ethnically diverse society – “for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour” (v 3). This call for submission to national authority is reiterated by the apostle Peter: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well” (I Pet 2: 13-14). As Christian citizens, let us cheerfully pay our taxes, rendering “unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt 22: 21).
Brethren, let us thank God for His blessings upon our tiny island state. Because our leaders have ruled well, we enjoy peace, stability and safety. Most of us do not have to worry about our next meal, a roof over our heads, earning a living or education for our children. We have everything that makes for a comfortable life. May we not take God’s goodness and mercies for granted.
As Christians living in a dark and perverse world, let us be mindful of our testimony before all men. It is God’s desire to save all men, to draw them to “the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim 2: 4). Do not forget our responsibility to preach the Gospel. Find every opportunity to reach out to the lost. Our fellow Singaporeans, including many of our nation’s leaders, need to know the Lord. Sow the Gospel seed wherever God has placed us. Let us do the Lord’s will “while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (Jn 9: 4).
May the Lord grant us grace to be good and responsible citizens of our country. May we, as a nation, continue to enjoy God’s gracious favours and sustaining grace. Wishing one and all, “A Happy National Day”! Majulah Singapura!