Let’s Gather At Shiloh

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I’ve been reading through the book of Joshua lately, remembering how God displayed his faithfulness to the Israelites by leading them into the Promised Land after a long and difficult journey.

What has really struck me though, is that once the Israelites entered the land, their challenges were not over, not by a long way.  They had to work out how to divide the land to allocate sections to each tribe, and there were lots of battles to be fought, many tribes to be conquered, several cities to be taken.

There were great victories such as the fall of Jericho, but other occasions where it went less smoothly- a man called Achan stole some of the treasures set apart for God, causing the Israelites to be defeated by the people of Ai; the Gibeonites deceived the Israelites into making a peace treaty, and in several places the Israelites failed to completely drive out the other tribes.

I think I would have found this discouraging and disappointing.  After travelling for so long, setting all my hopes on making it into the Promised Land, surely this should be the “happily ever after”. I would have been expecting life to be easy once I finally arrived.  I would have been hoping for a life of rest and peace- not the prospect of more battles and ongoing uncertainty.

I don’t know how the Israelites felt about this, but I love their response in the middle of it all: “the entire community of Israel gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tabernacle” (Joshua 18:1)

In the midst of the battles and the unfinished business and the tribes being scattered across the Promised Land, the entire community came together to set up the Tabernacle- the place of worship, the place where God’s presence dwelled among them, the place where they were reminded of God’s faithfulness and of what united them.

The Hebrew word Shiloh means “place of rest” or “peace.”  The word is also used in Genesis 49:10 in Jacob’s final blessing to his sons: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”  Here, the word Shiloh refers to the Messiah- in other words, the Prince of Peace, the one who was promised, who would bring true rest for our souls.

All of this reminds me where I can find rest.  Too often I seek it in circumstances, thinking that if I can get things in order and tie up all the loose ends, I will find my rest.  I look to resolve the battles of life, hoping that will bring me peace, but the truth is our peace and rest do not depend on our circumstances.

Jesus said: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows, but take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

Our circumstances are never going to be perfect here on earth.  There will always be battles to be fought- but we can have peace in Jesus, even in the midst of the challenges and trials of life.

He doesn’t promise to resolve all of our situations as we might like, but he does call to us through the pain and the uncertainty, through the tensions and divisions we face:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

I know this has been a difficult week for many of my American friends.  I know there is a lot of fear and uncertainty, hurt and divisions, and I am praying for you and your country as you move forward.

But in the midst of all the challenges and trials of life, let’s gather at Shiloh.  Let’s remember what unites us, no matter what might threaten to divide us, and let’s remember where our peace and rest are ultimately to be found.

linking with Heart Encouragement ThursdayFresh Market Friday and Live Free Thursday

Crystal Storms Crystal Twaddell  

 

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24 thoughts on “Let’s Gather At Shiloh

  1. Thank you so much for your care and concern for your American friends, Lesley. Such beautiful encouragement here in the promise of God’s love and peace to be with us through every trial and sorrow we endure in this world. He still reigns, and He will continue to help us no matter what lies in our futures. Yes, let’s gather at Shiloh and remember where our peace and rest are found. Blessings and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful reminder that our peace is found by gathering at Shiloh–setting up the tabernacle and worshiping the Lord. I love the name of your blog; “Life in the Spacious Place.” Oh, that we would live there!

    I found you over at Fresh Market Friday. I’m new to the link-up world and really appreciate what I am finding there. My post this week also touches on the election and also encourages finding our stability and peace in God alone.

    Thank you for your thoughtful words on the book of Joshua.

    -Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Power in the Lord…in Shiloh…for we are not striving to do or be but are settled into the waiting arms of His perfect rest. Thank you for this fine post. Thank you for lifting up my country in prayer. I am 69 and have never seen such an election nor turmoil and division as this one held for 18 months. Weary and worried, but that is not what we are called to be. Be not anxious…. Lay your burdens on Me… Yes, those are what I am doing. Thank you so much, Laura, for encouraging my heart this morning.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoyed your devotional. I am writing a series of books I call the Shiloh Saga, set in a community in Arkansas in the 1850’s. There is a church here in my county that goes back to the earliest days of my state, which has a continuous history from that time. The church is called Shiloh. If you don’t object, I’d like to “borrow” a couple of ideas from your post to talk about why I chose the title I did. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Lesley-“our peace and rest do not depend on our circumstances”- this is so true. Out peace is only found in Him. Great reminder and glad to have popped over from Suzie’s. Blessings on finding your peace!

    Liked by 1 person

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