Melted Hearts, Evaporated Spirits

The Canaanites expected the worst. They would not be disappointed.

Joshua 5 (1)

So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who 
wereon the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who wereby the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel. Joshua 5.1

Reflect.
1.  To what does the Bible refer when it mentions the heart? How does this heart function within us? 

2.  How widespread was the dispiritedness of the people of Canaan? How do you suppose that happened?

Think about it.
Clearly, the people in the land of Canaan had been keeping an eye on Israel. Probably from the moment the news reached them of the defeat of the kings on the east side of the Jordan, some ongoing observation of the movements of Israel had been established, with runners carrying regular reports back to their respective leaders.

Can you imagine how the news of Jordan’s drying up would have been received? Can you see the astonished faces of those kings and generals? Hear the fearful murmuring of the people in marketplaces and at worship centers everywhere throughout the land? Whatever “spirit” had existed in these peoples to resist the invasion of their lands, suddenly evaporated. Their hearts melted, from kings to commoners, priests to paupers, high-born to low-born.

The people of Canaan entered a waiting game, expecting the worst. They would not be disappointed.

Meditate and discuss.
1.  It might be a good idea at this point to reflect on what we know about the people of Canaan. What was their religion? What did that religion require of them? Did the different nations and peoples live peacefully with one another? Would they likely be good neighbors to the people of Israel, as they returned to claim the land promised to them by God? 

2.  When the people of Canaan heard what God had done for the people of Israel, their hearts melted, and they had no spirit in them to resist. What does this suggest about the importance of sharing the works of God with the people in your Personal Mission Field? Which works?

3.  God is as much with us today as He was with Israel in their day, but even more so (cf. Phil. 2.13; Eph. 3.20, Jn. 14.12). Why are we not as active in seeking His promises and Kingdom as they were?

“The recognition of the fearful power of God had such an effect upon them that they were astonished and fainted with terror, but it did not incline their minds to seek a remedy for the evil. Their heart was melted inasmuch as destitute of counsel and strength they did not bestir themselves, but in regard to contumacy they remained as hard-hearted as before.”John Calvin, Commentary on Joshua (1509-1564 AD)

Lord, You have done so many wonderful works for me, and do so every day! Today I want to share one of Your works with someone, so help me as I…


Pray Psalm 78.1-8.
As you pray, let God’s “strength and His wonderful works” come to mind, especially those He has done in your life, and give Him thanks and praise. To whom will you make His work known today?

Psalm 78.1-7 (Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
Give ear, O my people, attend to my word, 
Dark sayings and parables sent from the Lord, 
Things we have before by our fathers been told, 
Which we would not dare from our children withhold.

The glorious deeds of our God in His might, 
And all of the works He has done in our sight, 
Together with all of the words of His Law, 
Would we on ourselves and our children bestow. 

Lord, let all our children arise and declare 
The truth of the Lord every day, everywhere, 
And set all their hopes in God’s wonderful Word, 
And never forget all the works of the Lord.

T. M. Moore

Where does the book of Joshua fit in the ongoing story of God’s covenant? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you discover the place in God’s work of redemption not only of Joshua but of all the books of the Bible. God’s Covenant is a valuable resource to guide you in all your studies in God’s Word. To order your copy, click here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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