If you were living in Israel in the time of the Old Testament, you would know how much value was placed in a name. The name of your people, the name of tribes and clans, and even households were the representation of legacy and promise. Your name was everything. God had given Israel its name as the identity of His people. The promise to Abraham was one that would come through his offspring and eventually twelve tribal names would pass down a rich religious heritage from father to son. The necessity of family succession was paramount. But what if you were single?
There is very little spoken about singleness in the Old Testament because the old covenant was made with a physical family that became a nation of families. Singleness in the old covenant had a negative stigma because the next generation of God’s people relied on marriage and procreation. Inheritance was handed from father to son and wives were needed to bear the next generation. Barrenness was seen as a curse and the pressure on women to provide the next heir was enormous. This is why we see Sarah and Rachel weeping in their anxiety for children and Hannah singing in praise for the gift of a son. The Name must go on!
In the Church, we can be guilty of looking at our single brothers and sisters this way. We can so easily feel sorry for those who have decided not to marry or have not yet found a spouse as if they have less future richness. “These poor people will never leave a lasting legacy. Their name will not go on.”
If you incline to such thinking, STOP IT!
There are so many reasons why the New Covenant changes everything for singleness. One major reason is that the pressure for heritage and legacy is obliterated in Christ. Because the church is a New Covenant family of regenerate believers (Jer 31:31-34), the heritage that we have in Christ is most gloriously spiritual. The physical family name is no longer an indicator of God’s covenant with his people. This is precisely the expectation that Isaiah gives as he looks to the coming Messiah who will be the great servant of all. Because of the saving work of the Suffering Servant, there shall be “a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 55:13). The shocking twist in Isaiah comes when we see who benefits from this everlasting name. Isaiah says, “To the Eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:4-5).
I don’t know of a single Eunuch who has ever been able to produce an ongoing name by physical heritage. In the name of Jesus, our spiritual family heritage is for every single individual believer. The full blessing and inheritance of this family is given to every single member in full eternal proportion. Bottom line, if you want a heritage that lasts forever, take the name of Jesus. Anything associated with your own physical name here on earth just won’t go the distance (no matter how good it is).
Perhaps this is why those who conquer (every faithful believer) in the book of Revelation are given a new name (2:17,3:12). With the New Covenant comes a new name with a new everlasting promise that can never be broken. We take the name of Christ.
There is no sourness in singleness for those in Jesus. If you want to make singleness sweet, focus on the family name of Jesus rather than the one on your physical birth certificate. Whether married or single, whether with children or without, the only heritage that lasts is the one in the New Covenant.
This doesn't mean that physical families are not a blessing and that everyone should remain single. The message is the same whether married or single. In the new covenant family, there are no lesser members. In the new covenant family, the heritage and name for everyone is Jesus.