Brief Notes

You Cannot
Go to Shiloh

16 March 2024

If we desire spiritual strength,
whether to deal with the enemy
or to commune with the Lord,
we must remain at “Gilgal,”
where the Lord deals with
us in a hidden way

Not long after the beginning of the book of Judges, the Children of Israel failed in their responsibility to destroy the inhabitants of the Good Land. At that point, we are told,

The Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim….

It was then that the Lord told the Israelites He would no longer drive out their enemies before them, which caused the Children of Israel to weep and sacrifice unto the Lord in “Bochim” (Judges 2:1-5; the name means “Weeping”).

Darby states, in his Synopsis on this chapter,

This change from Gilgal to Bochim is the key to the book; it is so, alas! but too often, the condition of God’s children.

Gilgal, where the Israelites first camped in the Good Land after crossing the Jordan, signifies the place where we deal with our self-life and our flesh; it is thus, also, where we gather strength, as Darby says, to deal with the enemy, just and the Children of Israel prepared themselves there to defeat their enemies in the Good Land. (See “You Cannot Go to Shiloh” • 2)

But, while the Angel of the Lord had remained at Gilgal, the Children of Israel did not; they had gone to Shiloh (Josh. 18:1). As a result, even without realizing it, they lost the presence of that Angel, which Darby refers to as “the operative power of God in the midst of the people.”

Darby comments, on the Angel’s moving from Gilgal to Bochim,

God had been then at Gilgal! What a blessing amid those exercises and inward conflicts of heart, in which true practical circumcision is accomplished, in which the source and influence of sin are felt in order to judge it before God; so that, the flesh being judged, we may in conflict (and also in communion) enjoy the strength of God, who cannot grant it to the flesh and to sin.

The presence of the Angel of the Lord in Gilgal was not manifested to the Children of Israel until He left; in the same way, so often we fail to recognize the Lord’s hand in His dealings with us, even though He is there all the time. As Jacob exclaimed, after His dream at Bethel,

“Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it!”
— Genesis 28:16

In fact, this move of the Children of Israel from Gilgal to Shiloh was the real reason they lost the strength to deal with their enemies, as we will consider in the next Note in this series.

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— 16 March 2024 —