For now let's look closer at the heart being adversely effected by emotion, specifically fear. In Deuteronomy 1:28, it points out that fear overtaking the hearts of the people kept the Israelites from entering the promised land. In Joshua 2:11 and 5:1 we see that fear has flip-flopped to the native people living in the promised land, as the Israelites again enter the land after forty years of transformation. It uses the same phrase I might add. We see the same phrase again in Joshua 7:5, and the wording and context on this one caught my eye and inspired me to write about it today. The context being that the Israelites have fallen into sin again, and for that reason have lost the Lord's favor; therefore, they lose a battle in taking the promised land.
. . . At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water. -Joshua 7:5 b
There are two prominent implications with this verse.
1.The state of their heart was like ice, implying that it was sin that made their heart grow cold.
2. Since the Bible word for heart is mostly indicative of personality, being afraid causes it to dissipate like melting ice. Giving into fear effectively causes us to lose ourselves.
Now let’s build upon this idea by looking at Joshua 14:8-9, where Joshua himself is talking about the past.
but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’ -Joshua 14:8-9
Which drives the concept further by indicating that fear keeps us from doing anything wholeheartedly. No wonder the Lord did not give us a spirit of fear. (Romans 8:15) It robs us of all our strength and passion to commit to God, and his mission for us.
Is your church only going through the motions half heartedly? Then maybe sin has caused their hearts to grow cold. Maybe that coldness has made them susceptible to the spirit of fear, and has melted their passion away, making your church as solid as water. Valid questions we should all ask ourselves not just as individuals, but collectively as a church as well. Do you have a melting heart?
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