Have you ever done something that you thought God wanted you to do, only to have it turn into a disaster? Did you question where God was? Did it scare you? Did you seek him for answers?

and the men of Ai killed about thirty six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.” – Josh 7:5 (ESV)

The Israelites were in shock and despair. Now they were scared – the hearts of the people melted and became as water. What just happened? Where was God? They weren’t supposed to lose a battle! They had God, Almighty God, who was more powerful than the gods of the Canaanites with them! He had promised them the land. So, how could they be defeated? Up until now, it was the non-Israelites–the inhabitants of the land–whose hearts melted–who feared because the Lord was with the Israelites and giving them the land. (See Josh 2:10-11; Exod 15:13-15; Deut 2:25)

What the Israelites didn’t realize was that someone in their midst had sinned against God. After the defeat, Joshua sought God for answers. It was then that God explained to Joshua of Israel’s sin. God let him know they must obey him or he would not be with them. (Josh 7:11-12). Also, the Israelites had acted on the assumption that God had directed them to this battle. They didn’t seek his guidance before acting. If they had, God would have told them then about their sin – before the battle, the lost lives and despair.

This speaks to me in a couple of ways. First, I was struck by the imagery used in the statement of the hearts of the people melting. Can’t you just relate to that statement? I know I can. It drives home the point better than just saying the people were scared or afraid or in despair. Their hearts were melting! That just screams pain to me. It brings to mind fire, flames and something disintegrating from a solid to a liquid to nothing. They just see their faith and trust and strength and confidence in their God dissolving into uncertainty, questions and fear.

The second main point I took from this passage was the importance of seeking God continually in my walk. The Israelites knew God had promised them the land. He had done so many miracles along the way. He guided them, fed them, went before them and protected them. Yet, along the way they sinned and didn’t seek His guidance. They presumed God was with them and went to battle without seeking his direction. God’s presence shouldn’t be taken for granted. We need to continue to seek God daily.

My Prayer:

Lord, thank you for this word. Thank you for bringing to our attention the importance of seeking you continually. It’s so easy to get off track – to think we are doing your will – and finding out the hard way that we might not be – or at least not handling it in the timeframe or in the way you would prefer.

You know there is so much going on right now. I feel like I’m having to do so many different things that I’m not doing a very good job at any of them. Help me to seek you each day as I try to sort through all the different things that I think need to be done – so you can guide me in doing what does need to be done. Even more Lord – help me to let go and allow you to work through me. I keep finding out I can’t do it. But I know you can. I need your direction Lord. I need your working through me. My heart has been melting at times. I think that’s why this verse jumped out at me. I can relate.

With the thought of hearts melting – your other verses that speak of “not letting your heart faint” or “do not lose heart or be afraid” or “do not fear or panic” (Jer 51:46; Deut 20:3) or “don’t let your heart be troubled” (John 14:1; 14:27) or “let your heart take courage” (Ps 27:14) – all have a renewed freshness and meaning for me. You know our tendency to go out on our own without you. You know our tendency to fear and lose faith. You want us to seek you – to trust you and to wait for you. (Ps 27:17). Show me what that means Lord – in the midst of all that needs to be done. I love you, Lord. Amen.