Jump Start # 3339
Joshua 2:11 “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.”
Our verse comes from the lips of Rahab. She and the people of Jericho had heard what Israel had done to other cities. Jericho was next in line. The text tells us that their “hearts melted,” and their courage was gone. Three times in Joshua, the expression, “hearts melted is found.”
We don’t use that form of speech. We like melted cheese on our pizzas. We watch youngsters trying to deal with ice cream that is melting on a hot summer day. If you leave a candle in your car in the summer, it may melt. But melted hearts is something we don’t talk about much. In the N.T., the expression is “lose heart.”
Let’s think about melted hearts. What causes a heart to melt? And, when we talk that way, we are not referring to the organ in our chest, but the faith in our soul. The Joshua passages that list melted hearts helps us to understand the meaning. In our passage today, it means having no courage. In Joshua 5:11 we are told that there was no spirit in them any longer.
First, hearts melt when the trouble seems greater than we are. That’s the way Jericho felt. Nation after nation was being defeated by Israel’s God including the greatest nation at that time, Egypt. If the Egyptian army was wiped out, what hope did these small city kingdoms have? Bad news. Tough times. Problems without solutions. A divorce in the family. Bills a mile high and little money. Losing a job. Being evicted. Facing a lawsuit. Facing a prison sentence. Out of hope. Out of luck. Out of options.
For the young prodigal, it was being so hungry that we wanted to eat what he was feeding the pigs. That made him come to his senses. His heart must have melted. How low he sunk. The magical children’s stories always end with everyone living happily ever after. But life isn’t a fairy tale.
Second, faithlessness leads quickly to melted hearts. The people of Jericho didn’t know Jehovah. They weren’t followers of the Lord. And, when trouble comes, their make believe and made up gods become useless and worthless. It is the same in our times with the cotton candy theology of happiness. It fills church buildings on a Sunday but it doesn’t fill hearts with true faith in the Lord. When the winds of adversity blow in, that shallow faith doesn’t hold up. Just like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. The wind and the rain came and that house didn’t make it.
Our passage today is drawn from the one person of Jericho who believed, Rahab. She is named among the heroes of Hebrews 11 as one who had faith. “By faith, Rahab did not perish,” we are told.
Over and over, we try to find ways to keep troubles and trials at bay. We look for that smooth, simply and carefree life that will not push us or trouble us. But such cannot be found. The world is broken. Bad news, hardships, troubles are a part of this life. Rather than looking for the way around troubles, we ought to be fortifying our faith so we can endure the troubles. Strengthen the heart so it will not melt. Faith in God brings courage, confidence and assurance. One never stands alone who has God on his side.
Third, our hearts also melt when we try to take on the troubles of others. We cannot fix everyone. In fact, we cannot fix anyone, other than ourselves. We can teach. We can encourage. We can influence. But many stand in a mud puddle and refuse to get out. Our hearts hurt when we see such things. We want to jump in and pull folks out, but they really do not want to get out. As hard as it is to believe, some like sin. Some enjoy the lifestyle that they are in. Some want to remain as they are. They do not see, or want to see, that things could be so much better. For the moment, they believe they are in happiness, even though misery and more problems are just on the horizon. For the people of God, our hearts melt to see that. This is magnified when what we see are our family members living this way. Some have gone through so many marriages that it’s hard to keep up with the names. Some have embraced homosexuality and are having the time of their lives. Some are alcoholics without realizing it. Some are abusive. We see this and we worry about the little ones in these homes. We want to rescue them and keep them from seeing so much wrong. But we can’t. Our hearts just melt thinking about our loved ones living so far away from the Lord.
The context of our passage reminds us that Rahab’s heart didn’t melt. She believed. Unlike the other citizens of Jericho, she held on to hope. Her faith was in the Lord. And, that difference, made all the difference. She took a chance. She hid the spies. She sent the posse on a wild goose chase, as she protected the spies. If caught, her life would have ended. But God was with her as He was with the spies.
There is enough bad news each day to melt hearts. Troublesome times indeed are here. They are filling men’s hearts with fear. Yet, our hearts do not melt. Our God is upon the throne. Our God will be victorious. Faith in the Lord is what keeps hearts strong.