By Myron Horst
We see things in our life from a narrow perspective, and it is often difficult for us to understand all that God is allowing to happen. Someone standing ten feet behind us can see a much bigger perspective than we can. They can see things we can’t. They can also see some of our blind spots. God sees an even bigger and clearer perspective as He sees all of our past, present, and future all at once. God invites us to get a peek from His perspective.
God tells us that those who run into His strong tower are safe (Proverbs 18:10). God’s tower not only provides safety but it elevates us above the problem at hand, and we are able to see it from His perspective. Part of God’s strong tower is the Bible. As we read, study and meditate upon it we begin to see life’s situations from God’s perspective. It is interesting to look at marriage and singleness from God’s high tower; it gives us a bigger and clearer picture.
Marriage is temporary and is only a thing of this earth
An important thing that God shows us from His high tower is that marriage is only a thing of this earth and it is temporary. Marriage ends at the death of one of the marriage partners and does not continue in heaven. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:30 that “At the resurrection people will neither marry or be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”
Because marriage is only a thing of this earth it needs to be viewed much in the same way as other earthly possessions. Marriage is not something we can take with us when we die. Like any other earthly possession, marriage is not required for our present happiness or fulfillment. Marriage should not be one’s ultimate goal in life or it becomes an idol.
Marriage and family can be idolatry
We see from God’s high tower that marriage and the family can become idolatry. God tells us that whenever we put anything ahead of Him it is idolatry (idol worship). When either single or married persons put the focus of their life on marriage and family ahead of Jesus it is wrong. There is a danger with the multitude of matchmaking web sites, the multitude of books and programs on marriage and the family, and comments by friends and relatives implying one should get married, that results in our putting too much emphasis on marriage rather than on Jesus.
What does all this about family idolatry have to do with singleness? It helps us put marriage in its proper perspective. As Christians we need to see the value of a person being single in the Kingdom of God.
Singles in the Bible who served God in significant ways
From God’s tower we see that there were a number of singles in the Bible who had a significant impact on the lives of God’s people. There were probably more than these who were single but the Bible does not state their marital status.
Persons in the Bible who were single: Daniel, Jesus, Shadrach, Paul, Meshach, John the Baptist, Obednego, Philip’s four daughters, Elijah, Eisha, and Jeremiah
Persons in the Bible who were single until later in life: Isaac (40 years old), Jacob (80+), Esau (40), and Moses (40+). Anna was married seven years and was then a widow for 84 years and served the Lord with fastings and prayer day and night.
Errors in singleness
From God’s high tower we see some errors that can occur in singleness and avoid doing the same things.
One error is filling life with busyness that has no eternal reward. “Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun. There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail” (Eccl 4:7,8).
True joy is found in serving others. When a single person’s focus is only on themselves and they have no one that is receiving benefit from their life, it is vanity. When a person is married and has a family, they have a spouse and children whom they can benefit spiritually, emotionally, and financially. However, marriage is only one channel of benefiting others, and being married does not guarantee that one will benefit the life of another. This is especially true in a marriage damaged by divorce. There are many, many other channels available for a single person to bless the lives of others. This is especially true for a Christian who is single. Ask God to show you His purpose for your life. He will show you.
Another error is forbidding to marry. Over the years there have been a number of groups that have forbidden their people to marry. God says this is wrong. Note that God says that forbidding people to marry is a doctrine of Satan and is one of his lies:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” (1 Tim. 4:1-3)
Another error that God says that singles can make is being lazy, gossiping, and prying into other people’s business. Speaking about younger widows God says: “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” (1 Timothy 5:13) An old saying states that “Idleness is the devil’s workshop.” Our focus should not be on just being busy, or we become workaholics. Rather, our focus needs to be on carrying out the purpose God has for our lives, and the things He has called us to do.
Marriage is not God’s plan for everyone
From God’s tower, or His perspective, we see that there are reasons and advantages He gives for some people to not get married. For some it may mean delaying marriage. For others it may mean never marrying.
- It is better not to get married than to marry a contentious or angry spouse. (Pr. 21:9,19; Pr. 19:13; 25:24; 27:15 — There are many people who wished they had known and followed this advice.
- Jesus said that some will not get married for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. (Matt. 19:10-13 — This verse also applies to divorced persons with previous spouses still living not remarrying for the kingdom of heaven’s sake because it is sin.)
- In times of distress, or persecution, it is good not to get married. (I Cor. 7:26)
- Because the time is short until Christ’s return. (I Cor. 7:29)
- To give freedom to serve the Lord without distraction. (I Cor. 7:32-35)
- Because a widow will be happier unmarried. (I Cor. 7:40)
Blessings singles receive from the Lord
God also promises singles blessings for serving Him:
- An everlasting name — singles will have everlasting impact in God’s Kingdom. (Isaiah 56:3-5) An example of this is Daniel.
- God will bless singles with more children than a married wife — The Lord is the husband. (Isaiah. 54:1-6) The promise of this blessing is repeated in the New Testament: “Rejoice thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath a husband” (Gal. 4:27).
- God promises those who have chosen not to be married for the kingdom of heaven’s sake a greatly multiplied blessing, not just a substitute for marriage. (Matt. 19:27-30) An illustration of this in my sister’s life. God has opened a door of ministry for her as a single that supersedes anything she ever imagined. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Cor. 2:9).
From this peek at singleness from God’s high tower, we see singleness in a different light than the perspective of many around us. We see that singleness has a purpose, multiplied blessings, and great value in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. We also see that marriage is only a thing of this earth, and that there are reasons that God gives for some not to marry. So when you are feeling down, or need direction for your life, run into God’s strong tower (get alone with Him and ask Him to show you some direction from the Bible), and get a bigger perspective of your life.