Brief Notes

You Cannot
Go to Shiloh
(4)

19 March 2024

Today is not the time
for us to rest, but to labor
for the Lord and to struggle
for His kingdom on the earth

The Children of Israel first entered the Good Land at Gilgal and made their camp there, and that became the place where the Lord dealt with His people. The beginning of the book of Judges makes it clear that the Angel of the Lord never left Gilgal until the Children of Israel failed to destroy the inhabitants of the land:

Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim….
— Judges 2:1

The Children of Israel, however, had left Gilgal several years before, even while Joshua was still alive:

Now the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of meeting there. And the land was subdued before them.
— Joshua 18:1

Until this time, it was the Lord who had led the Children of Israel, whether in the wilderness or in their conquest of the Good Land. Now, however, it seems the Children of Israel were leading the Lord. This verse does not speak of the Lord telling them to move the tabernacle to Shiloh, or that the Angel of the Lord went there; rather, the Children of Israel on their own “set up the tabernacle of meeting there.”

Why?

Gilgal, as we have seen, signifies the place where the Lord deals with or self-life and our flesh through His death and resurrection (see “You Cannot Go to Shiloh” • 2); the name “Shiloh,” in contrast, means “Peace” or “Place of Rest” (Potts). So, very simply, now that the land was to a large extent subdued before them, the Children of Israel wanted to give up their dealing before the Lord and enter into peace and rest.

Isn’t this just like us? Perhaps early on in our Christian life we were very zealous and serious in our seeking of the Lord. After some time, however, we felt we had gained some stature in Christ and were enjoying the human blessings we had received in Him, such as being a good person, having a good family, etc.; thus, we too desired to enter into rest. Our seeking of the Lord Himself waned, we stopped truly dealing with Him, and, so to speak, we instead “settled down in the land”; finally, we were at peace.

But of course, such a peace cannot truly last; according to the Bible, we cannot go to Shiloh; rather, Shiloh must come to us. And this will not happen until the Lord returns:

The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be
the obedience of the people.
— Genesis 49:10

Today is not meant to be a time of peace and rest for us as the believers in Christ, but a time of labor and warfare, of struggling to enter into the kingdom (Matt. 11:12, Luke 13:23-24, Acts 14:21-22, 2 Tim. 4:7), and fighting to bring God’s kingdom to the earth (Matt. 24:14).

If we seek to enter into peace by ourselves, prior to the time of the Lord’s return, the result can only be defeat and even disaster in terms of our Christian testimony, as it eventually was for the Children of Israel and their standing for God’s kingdom on the earth.

May the Lord grant us, by His mercy, to never cease our living before Him and dealing with Him, so that He can gain the testimony among us that He desires! May we continue to fight and struggle through all our days for His interest on the earth!

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— 19 March 2024 —