- Grace B-P Contributor
Singapore Celebrates Her 57th Year of Independence
By Rev Tan Eng Boo
“May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah”
Come this 9 August, our nation will celebrate 57 years of independence. Thank God for His goodness upon Singapore, this “little red dot” on the world map. A nation’s independence cannot be taken for granted; the peace and prosperity we enjoy now can be suddenly taken away by times of conflict and war.
An example would be the recent Ukraine war that has resulted in more than five million Ukrainian refugees fleeing to neighbouring European countries. Countries like Iraq and Afghanistan have also lost their independence, too. It is certainly not a pleasant experience to be living under occupation or colonial rule. I thank God that most of us did not go through the experience of living under the Japanese occupation of Singapore from 1942-1945.
I have lived through the years of colonial rule in Singapore under the British rule in the 1950s and it was not a pleasant experience. I recall one incident when my cousin and I had gone up to Kent Ridge through Guok Avenue in Pasir Panjang where he lived. We were playing near a water tank at the top of the hill when a British boy came up to us and told us to leave! A short while later a British Military Police (MP) personnel came up to us and also told us sternly to leave. I remembered clearly that he said, “This is British land, now get out of here.” That was a very unpleasant experience for me. I thank God we are no longer under the British colonial masters. Since 1965, after our nation’s exit from the Federation of Malaysia, we have gone on from strength to strength on our own by God’s grace and mercies. The Lord has blessed our nation since our independence.
Recently, I attended the first National Day Parade rehearsal on 2 July and it was heartening to see fellow Singaporeans standing on their feet and singing “Majulah Singapura” (without being told to do so) when the National Anthem tune was played. I treasure our country's independence and we must pray for God’s grace and mercy to keep us all safe.
On this 57th year of independence let us be reminded:
1. God is the Supreme Ruler of all nations.
Every king and ruler in the world, even the greatest among all rulers, receives his right to rule from God alone, and must be subject to Him. Romans 13:1 tells us plainly that there is no power but of God and the “powers that be are ordained of God”. The prophet Daniel said, “that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will” (Daniel 4:25). No one can stay in power longer than God permits. We see the recent collapse of the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The “mighty” Saddam Hussein is gone. And so is Gaddafi of Libya, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and Donald Trump etc. Why did these mighty rulers fall? Why did they not remain in power forever? God is certainly the Supreme Judge of all nations. The prophet Daniel said, “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings….” (Daniel 2:21).
2. It is God who will bless the righteous nation.
Proverbs 14:34(a) “Righteousness exalts a nation.” What nation is ever righteous? Do you see one? Yet there is a need to strive to be such a nation. In order for a nation to be great, its leaders and people must be upright and have moral characters, reflecting their righteousness. The founding fathers of our nation started on the right footing. They wanted a clean government. This is the right way to go. It is even crucial that the church be righteous so that she can be an influence on the government.
“Many things may, in human perspective, exalt a nation. Military might, economic prosperity, status among nations, cultural influence, and athletic victory may each make a nation seem exalted. Yet ultimately, none of those things match righteousness as a way a nation is truly exalted” (David Guzik, “Study Guide for Proverbs 14”)
When a people reject righteousness and choose sin, it will bring reproach upon them and the nation. This is my concern for our nation today. I see, for example, that the LGBTQ influence is getting stronger with support from some Members of Parliament (MP). Where is our nation heading? Yes, we live in an inclusive society and people will have all the rights they want, but this is where the Christian MP must know the Bible and have a clear line drawn. This is where the church and her people must hold firmly to God’s word. We can’t afford to hold on to a “flip-flop” kind of theology when it comes to “holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:16).
We must not forget to pray for our government to have the wisdom to deal with complex issues.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2: 1-2).