God uses the physical as an analogy of the spiritual. In 1 Corinthians 12, “the body” symbolizes the Church. In Song of Songs, the theme is physical love. By the Spirit of God, the physical language points beyond itself by using imagery which is suggestive of deep spiritual truth. What is happening in the heavenly realms always has great relevance to what is going on here on earth: “Great is the Lord in Zion; He is exalted over all the nations” (Psalm 99:2).
There is physical love (Song of Songs). There is the love spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13. There is the love of God – “For the Lord is good and His love endures for ever” (Psalm 100:5). The more we consider what the Scriptures say about love, the more we realize that ‘love is a many-splendoured thing.’ To understand love, there needs to be a response of love arising from our hearts. Touched by love, we learn to love.
Prayer, prophecy and praise – these are three essential ingredients of worship. Prayer – “They sought God eagerly and He was found by them” (2 Chronicles 15:15). Prophecy – “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:39). Praise – “To You, O Lord, I will sing praise” (Psalm 101:1).
The people of God are to be “armed for battle” (2 Chronicles 17:18). The battle is spiritual. It can only be won through the power of the risen Christ. His purpose is the destruction of “the last enemy … death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). This has been accomplished, in principle, through Christ’s resurrection. The full reality of His victory will be seen at His return. With such a strong and victorious Lord on our side, we are encouraged to pray to the Lord, fully expecting to receive help from Him – “Hear my prayer, O Lord, let my cry for help come to You … “ (Psalm 102:1-2).
Those who were armed for battle received this message from the Lord: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 21:15). Now, we fight many battles. There will come a Day when these battles will be behind us and we will share in the glory of God: “And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the Man from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:4-9). The glory of the Lord will be revealed. There will be no king but the Lord – “all the kings of the earth will revere Your glory” (Psalm 102:15).
The conflict between good and evil, godliness and ungodliness, may be seen throughout the Scriptures. This is particularly true in the history of the Old Testament kings. God is doing a work. Satan is doing all that he can to destroy it. We must make “a covenant … to be the Lord’s people” (2 Chronicles 23:16). We must never lose sight of the final outcome of the battle between good and evil. Satan will be “slain with the sword” (2 Chronicles 23:21). He will be “hurled down” – “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11). From our hearts, we can say, “But thanks to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). If we are to enjoy His victory, we must live in the light which shines from “the lamp of the Lord” (Proverbs 20:27).
During the time of the Old Testament kings, there was much “turning away from following the Lord” (2 Chronicles 25:27). In such times as these, we need to be encouraged to go on with the Lord: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians16:13-14). The warnings from previous generations, together with the call to follow the Lord, are written for people of every generation: “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18).