Joshua 7 … Consider Him Who Melts Hearts

The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water, (7:5 emphasis added).

Consider Him Who Melts Hearts

This melting of the heart…we’ve seen it before, in the people of Jericho when Rahab had confessed the bleak and dismal state of her people to the two spies.

Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath,” (Joshua 2:8-11 emphasis added).

And now, unbelievably, God’s people find themselves in the same condition as the enemy they had just destroyed.

The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water, (7:5 emphasis added).

The people of Jericho had only heard of God’s mighty acts and their hearts melted in fear, coming to grips with the undeniable truth: the God of the Israelites is the God in heaven above and on earth beneath. In all of Jericho, only Rahab bowed in faith to the One Who Melts Hearts, and her entire household was spared, as they came under His provision in scarlet.

The men said to her, “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18 unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household. 19 It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him,” (Joshua 2:17-19).

On the other hand, Achan, had personally experienced God’s awesome power, walking through the dried up Jordan River; and somehow rather than being gripped by the fear of Him Who Melts Hearts, he was gripped by his own evil lust and rejected God’s holy commands.

And because of Achan’s rebellious disobedience, he brought his entire household under the ban, and all were destroyed.

But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel, (7:1).

 How do we respond to Him Who Melts Hearts?

Fear is truly the natural response to Him Who Melts Hearts. The Philippian jailer, whose own heart was melted by a miraculous act of God, was gripped by fear and driven to seek help; and he and his entire household were brought to salvation.

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” 29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house, (Acts 16:29-32).

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. And by faith in Jesus, we are saved and experience His mighty works on our behalf.

But we cannot rely on yesterday’s victories for today. Every day brings its own temptations and battles. We are only prepared to face the enemy when we walk by faith, depending on His Holy Spirit to work in us.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure, (Philippians 2:12-13).

In reality, isn’t it logical that fear and trembling be our normal reaction any time we encounter the God in heaven above and on earth beneath?

But through our faith in Jesus, we become convinced of His sovereignty, holiness, might and faithfulness. It is by faith that we respond as we work out our salvation in fear and trembling, in boldness, and loyal submission and service. It is a holy fear and trembling that moves us to proclaim Him, desiring that all would come to know Him Who Melts Hearts.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us how, as He sets forth His expectations to live in a way that will impact others for His glory.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:13-16).

The choices we make will affect others. Yes it’s a battle. Let us fight by faith, driven, in holy fear of the One Who Melts Hearts, to obedience with an insatiable desire to please Him, rejecting the enticements of this world, as we look forward to His rewards.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing, (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Let’s Grow Together!

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