Portraits of Christ | Shiloh
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).
The title for Christ, Shiloh, was given by the patriarch Jacob who on his deathbed speaks to each of his sons. Moral failure, lust, and cruelty had forfeited the privileges of birthright for several of his children. But special blessings were reserved for the tribes, or family lineage, of Judah and Joseph.
In Jacob's blessing to his son Judah, it is revealed that from Judah's family will come the promised Messiah, Shiloh. The word Shiloh means rest. It is prophetical of the rest and peace which Christ offers to all who will place their full trust in him.
Jesus gives us this precious promise, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30). Keeping our eyes on our circumstances and the dark clouds billowing around us will cause us to sink. But as long as we keep our eyes on the Prince of Peace, we can walk upon stormy seas.
A woman - I'll call her Mary - and her husband owned a little store. It had seen better days. With sales dwindling, they had to cut back their staff to just a skeleton crew, and they only opened their store three days per week. Their business was on the brink of bankruptcy, and financial ruin lay at their doorstep. Morning and night found Mary and her husband staring into a dark abyss of failure.
Yet, somehow, with this burden on her shoulders, Mary managed to stand before a group of young people at our church one Friday evening and encourage them in their faith. The text she spoke from was Ephesians 6, putting on the whole armor of God. As she spoke, it was obvious that she was under a strain, and that perhaps she was struggling to believe in her own heart what she was telling the youth. What she spoke that evening so many years ago I don't remember. But, I do remember one statement she made. It has never left me.
"Sometimes," her voice shaking, "our armor gets heavy."
I know what it is like for my armor to get heavy. I'm sure many of you do as well. The temptations seem too hard. The trials seem too tough. The mountain seems too high and the valley too deep. And God? He is nowhere to be found (or so it seems). Your Bible lays in the same place you dropped it a few weeks ago. Your prayer closet is full of cobwebs. And your armor has become such a burden that you feel like taking it off and walking away.
If your armor has become heavy and a burden, then I want you to stop and pause for minute. If Jesus' burden is light, and your armor is heavy, then somewere along the line, you have changed armor. If Jesus has promised rest, yet you find yourself laboring and toiling as if in slavery, then you have misplaced priorities.
King Saul, before sending David out to fight Goliath, gave him his own armor, the majestic ornate armor of a king. It was designed for a large man, but David was just a young teen. He couldn't see through the eyeholes, the chest mail dragged the ground, and he needed both hands to hold the shield. David said to Saul, "I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them." (1 Samuel 17:39). In other words, David was saying, "I don't know if they'll work for me. I have never tried them."
But David, instead, clothed himself in the armor of God. "The Lord is my strength and my shield," David would say later in his Psalms (Psalm 28:7). And he went out before Goliath and shook his fist in the face of a hopeless situation and boldy cried, "You come against me with man's weapons and man's armor. But, I come against you in the name of the Lord! The battle is the Lord's, and He will deliver you into my hands!"
If your armor is heavy, then you are trying to fight your battles on your own. You are looking at your circumstances and trying to solve your problems with your own understanding. Shake off that armor, and put back on the armor of God. It's light. It's not a burden. And remember, the battle does not belong to you, but it belongs to God!