But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord thus shall you say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel, “Regarding the words which you have heard, 19 because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord, (22:18-19).
Josiah was only eight years old when he became king; and he was the son of one of the most wicked, rebellious and evil kings in all the history of the kingdom of Judah.
Scripture does not expound on how Josiah became the young man who walked straight before his God. Perhaps he was fortunate, in that his father died while he was so very young, cutting short the wicked influence on young Josiah; and perhaps it was his mother who directed her young son towards righteousness. But at any rate, the commentary written about King Josiah reveals a righteous king in the sight of the LORD.
He did right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left, (22:2).
We are not provided with the background during the subsequent eighteen years of his life, but he grew in the ways of the LORD; and now at the age of 26, King Josiah seeks to repair the damages to the house of the LORD.
And as a result, the Book of the Law is found. And upon hearing the Words of the LORD, Josiah is undone in his grief. both for himself and his people.
When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.12 Then the king commanded… 13 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the Lord that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us,” (22:11-13).
And into this overwhelming anguish, the LORD reveals His Tenderness Towards the Tenderhearted.
Tenderness (English), adjective: “gentleness and kindness; a feeling of concern for the welfare of someone (especially someone defenseless); the sensitivity to pain.”
Tender (Hebrew): “7401. רָכַךְ rākak: A verb meaning to be tender, fainthearted, faint, weak, soft. It indicates that a person lacks resolve and needs to be strong in the face of danger (Deut. 20:3, 8; Isa. 7:4; Jer. 51:46). It refers, on the other hand, to a tenderness, a humility of heart, that is a strength before God (2 Kgs. 22:19; 2 Chr. 34:27)…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
This word, tender, incorporates a double meaning in the Hebrew: the idea of weakness and lack of resolve is coupled with humility. It describes the heart that knows, in and of itself, there is no strength to face God. This tenderness of heart refers to a humble admission of His holiness and sovereignty; acknowledging we are truly at His mercy; that He is well within His rights to execute judgment; and it is only by His grace we will be spared.
And it is to this one who is Tender of Heart, that the LORD responds with His Tenderness, demonstrating His gentleness and kindness, His concern for the defenseless king’s welfare, and His sensitivity to King Josiah’s pain.
Consider His Tenderness Towards the Tenderhearted
- His Tenderness Towards the Tenderhearted Opens His Ears to Hear
- “…because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord… I truly have heard you… (22:19).
- If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14).
- His Tenderness Towards the Tenderhearted Bestows His Peace
- “Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace…” (22:20).
- “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
4 “Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock, (Isaiah 26:3-4).
- “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27).
- His Tenderness Towards the Tenderhearted Spares from Evil
- “…and your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place,” (22:20).
- The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
And devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from evil,
2 He enters into peace;
They rest in their beds,
Each one who walked in his upright way, (Isaiah 57:1-2).
- I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing, (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
How do we respond to His Tenderness towards the Tenderhearted?
Let us come to Him in humility, assured that He Hears the Tenderhearted who are Humble before Him.
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you,” (Matthew 6:5-6).
Josiah sent word in order to hear what the LORD had to say. Let us also be Tenderhearted, seeking to listen first rather than insisting our own voices be heard.
He who gives attention to the word will find good,
And blessed is he who trusts in the Lord, (Proverbs 16:20).
But He said, “…blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:28).
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; (James 1:19).
As we come seeking to hear from Him in humility and brokenness, we can be confident that He will both Hear and Answer.
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the Lord hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit, (Psalm 34:15-18).
Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name, 3 “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know,” (Jeremiah 33:2-3).
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, (1 John 5:14).
And as we hear from Him, let us be strengthened in our faith, trusting He will answer in His Tenderness to bestow His Peace.
I will hear what God the Lord will say;
For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones;
But let them not turn back to folly.
9 Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land, (Psalm 85:8-9).
Those who love Your law have great peace,
And nothing causes them to stumble, (Psalm 119:165).
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
Today, let us learn well the lesson of King Josiah. Let us ask the Lord to soften our hearts, that we too would humbly grieve with a godly sorrow regarding sin.
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you… (2 Corinthians 7:10-11).
As we humble ourselves before Him, let us be strengthened in our faith and filled with gratitude for His Tenderness Towards the Tenderhearted, perfectly expressed in Jesus our Good Shepherd Who spares us from all evil.
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want…
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me, (Psalm 23:1, 4).
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd… 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand,” (John 10:11-16, 27).
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen, (2 Timothy 4:18).