This phrase “melt away” kept sticking out while reading Joshua. Hearts were melting, people were melting. What exactly does this mean? Is there any significance here? (Focusing Joshua 2:1-24)
vs. 9 “…and all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.”
vs. 11 “…And as soon as we heard, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit life in any man…”
vs. 24 “Truly the LORD has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.”
Verses 9 & 24 use the same Hebrew word mûg (moog ; H4127) which is to melt, literally (flow down, disappear, to soften); figuratively (to fear, faint) : – consume, dissolve, faint-hearted) make soft
Verse 11 uses a different Hebrew words from verses 9&24. This Hebrew word is mâsas (maw-sas’ ; H4549) which is to liquefy; figuratively to waste (with disease) to faint, be loosed, melt (away).
I think it interesting that in our English language this word melt means something similar, but slightly different in Hebrew. The “melt” in verses 9 & 24 are referring to the people who have melted, or softened, before them as they are claiming their promised land. The inhabitants are melting away before them. It’s God doing the melting and softening, just as he said he would do as the Israelites proceeded.
However, in verse 11 it’s the people within the city of Jericho and probably surrounding areas that melted their own heart. To waste with disease. I’m sure that God was at work in their hearts too, preparing them for the Israelites to come in and take over their city. They knew of God, but they didn’t know the God who gives strength to His children.
I know this was all part of God’s plan, but this discouragement! It was probably very intimidating to know that the Israelites were on their way. They new the God of heaven and earth was with them, and their hearts melted at their impending destruction. My heart would probably “melt” too!
What about us? Today? Knowing Jesus has conquered death, forgiven us, desires relationship with us and provides us a never-ending supply of strength and grace for each day. And sometimes, my heart still melts. It’s the melting in verse 11; the melting of my own doing. The part of the definition that says “to waste with disease” is so powerful. When my heart is melted, it’s wasting as though infected with a disease. It’s wasting with doubts, false tapes or ideas from the Accuser. I waste in a state of being locked up by insecurities, uncertainty of the unknown or something new. Paralyzed. My heart melts when I receive bad news, and I go weak in the knees from fear or grief.
The thing is, our hearts will melt. When that grief is paralyzing, the next step is scary, or the desire to run when you need to sit and wait. However, we have a Savior to lean on for the strength needed so that our melted heart doesn’t stay in a puddle on the floor and fester into a disease. There are promises to lean on and have faith in. We’re not immune to a melted heart, but we’ve got a Healer that’s already taken care of it all. And as followers of Jesus, we are called to live in that space of hope, joy and healing.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “So we do not lose heart. Though our other self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we loo not to the things that are seen but the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
And when I have a heart-melting moment of weakness, Philippians 4:13 reminds me that “I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens me.” It will be because of His strength, and not my own, that my heart-melting moments become strengthening moments.
Or when my heart is melting in worry and fear, 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds that “..for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Because we are daughters of the King! And we know our big brother, Jesus. He will hold us up in our weakness, so that we may continue to press forward being bold and courageous. He goes before us and hems us in and gives us power through the Holy Spirit within.