The Song of Solomon for Singles

By Will Flathers

I have the gift of singleness; by which I mean, I am single. So what about Song of Solomon? What about our “Summer of Love?” Is this sermon series merely rubbing salt in the wound? Should I simply save the sermon audio in hopes that I’ll need it someday? In short, no. I offer two personal reasons.

1) To honor God with my dating and marriage

I study the Song of Solomon with an eye towards preparing for marriage. I want to learn in advance what redeemed romance looks like. I want to learn in advance how to love my wife as Christ loved the church. I want to learn how to build and foster a relationship with my wife that is as poetic, servant-hearted, committed, and passionate as one we see in these songs. I don’t want to start from scratch. But three of the biggest takeaways for me have been that romance in marriage is worth waiting for, worth pursuing, and worth holding onto.

If Christian marriage is anything as beautiful as what we read in these songs, then it is entirely worth waiting for; it is entirely worth doing God’s way. Getting a glimpse into the beauty and intimacy of their marriage makes waiting less of a cold, mean rule that excludes me from any fun, but rather a loving rule that makes the gift all the more attractive. The lie of the serpent in the Garden of Eden was that God’s rule was harsh and tyrannical (Genesis 3) – but we know His gracious rule brings abundant life. Now, I realize that every marriage of two sinful people will have its trials and rough spots – we even see that in the songs – but that just seems to lead to new heights. My mom and dad say they are far more in love now than when they began.

It is worth waiting for, but it is also worth pursuing. As a guy, I realize that I can’t let fear of rejection prevent me from pursuing my own beloved. I shouldn’t let selfish pursuits get in the way, either. Marriage is a good gift from God. It is not wrong to desire it (1 Timothy 4) as long as those desires aren’t idolatrous.

And thirdly, it is worth holding onto. From what I’ve read, this book was likely written in Solomon’s early days as king. But something went horribly wrong – he married 700 women and had 300 concubines and they led him far from God. 1 Kings 11 tells us exactly what happened, and it was ugly. Reading these songs is a sobering reminder for me that something that started out so well could go so wrong when we chase after other gods. I never, never, never want that to happen to me or my marriage, so I must fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrew 12:2). And I know that His grace is sufficient for me, thankfully! (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Okay, I’ll be honest. I also want to learn how this whole romance thing works; it’s all Greek to me. King Solomon had some great lines. I just need to figure out the modern equivalent to “Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon…” Suggestions?

I am content. And I will try to be content as long as God gives me the gift of singleness, whether that is for a short time or the rest of my life. God is good, and He is working all things for His glory and my good (Romans 8:18-30). Sometimes that truth is easier to cling onto than others, but it is true nevertheless and I can be at peace because of it. But even if I never get married, there is another very good reason for me to learn from Song of Solomon.

2) To be a blessing to others

I want to know how to be a blessing to others; how I can best love others. In learning about marriage and intimacy and romance, I will be better able to pray for married folks, to encourage married folks, to admonish/rebuke married folks, and share the gospel with married folks. Because we are all called to do precisely that (James 5:16, Hebrews 10:25, Colossians 3:16). Even, the couple in the songs have a community surrounding them!

It’s daunting to do that as a single guy. But then I remember that Paul wasn’t married either, but he had a lot to say about marriage!  Now, I am under no delusion that I will be an expert on marriage, but I am convinced that I can and should be ready to help support married couples – love demands it.

Shameless plug for Gospel Communities

In Gospel Communities, you get to see other people’s marriages up close – the good, the bad, and the ugly. When you share life with others, you see their good days and their bad days, just like family. And that is a good thing!

As a single guy, that is a goldmine for me. Because I want to learn from Godly men what servant-leadership looks like in practice. I want to learn from Godly women what loving submission looks like in practice. I want to learn how they resolve conflict, how they honor one another, how they serve one another. It is also a healthy reminder to me that marriage is not always peachy, and certainly isn’t easy. I want to learn from other people’s marriages – even from their mistakes, so I don’t repeat them.

But for that to happen, I must see it! That is why we say we want to “share life together” in Gospel Communities. I was in England last month for a visit to my previous church and was at breakfast one day with my old Gospel Community. Two of my very good friends (husband and wife) had an argument on the way that morning. I knew them well enough to know that things were clearly not right between them when they arrived. Eventually, the husband felt convicted about it and asked his wife for forgiveness. She admitted that she was hurt by his words, but forgave him. They could have waited for the privacy of home. It would have been less embarrassing and less humiliating. But they chose to forgive in public. I observed it, I learned something about marriage from it, and I was blessed by it.

The impetus is on the married couples! It takes openness on their part to allow me to see both the good and the bad. It takes humility on their part to be encouraged or rebuked by someone who has “never been there.” It takes wisdom for them to teach single people about Biblical marriage. And overall, it takes a certain level of relationship within the Gospel Community as a whole so that anyone can (graciously, in love!) challenge them to be better husbands and wives. Is that you? Is that your Gospel Community?

So, all that said, I have enjoyed the series thus far, and am looking forward to the rest of it!