Then the whole congregation of the people of Israel assembled at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The land lay subdued before them.” Joshua 18:1 (ESV)

When the Israelites were moving into and taking possession of the promised land they gathered in Shiloh. Crossing the Jordan, and watching Jericho fall, was just the beginning. God had done amazing things, but now they had to fight the enemies and take possession of their promised land. It was hard, dangerous work to conquer the enemies and de-possess them of their cities. And as such not all the tribes had accomplished their work. Joshua gathered them all in Shiloh! It was there they set up the tent of meeting, with the Ark of the Covenant. This is the same Shiloh where Samuel grew up under Eli the priest. The Ark remained in Shiloh until Israel presumptively sent it to battle, only to be captured by the Philistines. When the Ark was returned to Israel it wound up in the home of Abinadab, in Kiriath Jearim. It did not return to Shiloh. It was from Aninadab’s home that David ultimately went to retrieve it for Jerusalem. The crazy thing about it was, sacrifices continued in Shiloh, even without the Ark. The outward expression of their faith continued without the inward presence of God (the Ark).

In Joshua’s time, Shiloh became a place of assembling together. A center point, a rally place! Here Joshua rallied the warriors. Though land was subdued before them, many had not yet received their inheritance. God did His part and now it was expected they do theirs. God will not do it all for us. He will do His part, the part that we can’t do. The impossible, improbable part. It is the huge part. But we have a part to play too. He looks for ones who will stand in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30), to do His work on this earth. Today He is still looking, waiting for His remnant to arise, and to prepare themselves to take possession of the land. There is going to be much clean up needed in the days ahead. And we are going to need to work together to accomplish His plans and purposes for this hour, in our city, nation and the world! 

As revival advances I believe the church is going to look different, it is going to need to. Shiloh and the Ark of God’s presence need to come together once again! In the past the local church has been built around a pastor/teacher. But that gifting tends to gather, nurture, protect and equip. But it is the apostles that send them out. It is the prophets who reveal God’s heart and what He wants to do. It’s the evangelist that equips people to go out into the world to share the gospel with those who haven’t heard! We need all these leadership roles and I believe they can operate best in a citywide church model, with the house of prayer being central. I am not saying the local church will no longer exist. No! We need the pastoring and teaching, the discipling, the nurturing and caring of those in the body. But we need both the local and the citywide church operating.

You see, the house of prayer is a Shiloh! It is the center point, the rallying place for warriors! Jesus said that His house would be a house of prayer for all nations (Luke 11:17). And Isaiah described this house of prayer as being characterized by joy (Isaiah 56:7). The house of prayer is the rallying point of the citywide church. It is the place where the local churches come together. It is a working of unity. Together there is a blessing (Psalm 133). Together, in our unity we bring more than just the sum of our parts. God promises to bless us and join us as two or more gather in His name (Matthew 18:20). Together we operate as His Ekklesia, His governing body!

Ask God to establish Shiloh in our city, to build the house of prayer that He desires. Ask Him to release joy in the house of prayer in our city. Ask Him to increase His presence as we seek Him as a citywide church. Ask Him to assemble His warriors, and to raise up the five-fold leadership for our city. Ask Him to show you the part you are to play in this day of taking possession of the land and cleaning up from the chaos and carnage of these past years of demonic occupation. Ask Him for a grace over your church, as well as the other local churches in our city to come together and work together to build Shiloh in Athens!