"The sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael. ... Abraham fathered Isaac. The sons of Isaac: Esau and Israel. The sons of Esau: Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. The sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, Kenaz, and of Timna, Amalek. The sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah." (1 Chron 1:28, 34-37)
When I entered 1 Chron for my personal Bible reading, my eyes seriously glazed over. What was I to do with a list of names? Where's the action, and what does it mean practically? Perhaps you have the same questions, and wonder why we're reflecting on these verses today.
1 Chron 1 is also part of God's divinely inspired Word and each name has been placed there for a reason. It reminds us that God knows each person in each generation, and they have a role to play in His mission. God is not just a big picture person interested in getting His work done in broad strokes. He is also detail-oriented, working with and in the lives of each person listed in this genealogy. Nothing escapes His sight!
When we watch the matches during this is sporting season, it might be hard to remember that God cares and God is involved. Each player you see on the field has a story and each player was made to reflect the image of God! The skill that they have in dribbling and passing the ball was God's design. The fouls and the treachery on the pitch continues to remind us that sin is a problem in all of our hearts.
1 Chron reminds us that people matter to God! The best footballers too, will one day have to stand before a holy God. Let us pray that one day, some of our sporting heroes will be counted among those standing and worshipping God before His throne!
Pray for Sweden
Swedish brands are not all that unfamiliar to us! Did you know that H&M, Ikea, Spotify and Skype hail from Sweden? Many Swedish businesses have operations in Singapore. At the same time, there is also a close research collaboration between universities such as NTU in Singapore and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
In 2017, the Swedish Church in Singapore, which is under the auspices of the Church of Sweden Abroad, reduced their work in Singapore. In a recent survey, 75% of young people aged 16-29 identified themselves as "non-religious". Pray for this nation that enjoys much economic success. Pray for God to work in the hearts of the people, that they will be open to the message of the gospel. Pray for Christians to share boldly and clearly, and help the Swedish people see their need for a Saviour.
Pray for Switzerland
Singapore and Switzerland are rather similar and both nations enjoy rather good trade relations. Those of us that went through the Singapore education system will remember learning about the governance and societal structure of Switzerland. Though made up of different regions that speak different languages, the Swiss government is able to rule rather peacefully. As of 2017, there are 3,250 Swiss nationals registered at the Swiss embassy in Singapore.
Basel and Geneva in Switzerland were important places in church history during the Reformation but today, as we consider our times, pray that Christians will continue the good work that those in the past started. Pray for Swiss Christians that are working in Singapore that they will be able to find good churches to worship and serve in during their stay in Singapore.
Pray for Colombia
Singapore enjoys some modest trade relations with Colombia. According to the Enterprise Singapore website, companies dealing with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) could find an emerging market and opportunities in Colombia.
We may not be familiar with Colombian news and politics, but Colombia struggles with rampant corruption. The nation will go to the polls this year, so pray that wise leaders will be elected. Pray that the government will be honest and transparent, and work for the good of the people. Pray that Christians in Colombia will also walk in a manner worthy of the gospel and live with integrity in their workplaces.
Pray for England
Singaporeans are no stranger to all things English. Not only do we have a shared history with the United Kingdom, we still enjoy good bilateral relations with the UK. About 7000 Singaporeans head to the UK to study every year. Praise God for the many Singaporean Christians that have the opportunity to study and work in various parts of England. Many of them are plugged in to local churches and also seek to find ways to grow and serve there. Pray for the ministry of Christian groups in England, that they will be able to reach out to Singaporeans that are working and living there. Perhaps God in His wisdom and sovereignty intends for some to come to faith while living away from home!
Continue to pray for the Church of England, as they deal with changing social norms and increasing nominalism. Pray for those that have moved to Singapore to live and work. Pray that God will place a desire in their hearts to want to find out more about Him! Pray for Christians to be faithful and bold in sharing the gospel.