2 Chronicles 34 … Consider His Tenderness Towards the Tenderhearted

Originally posted: 6/06/2020

“But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus you will say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel regarding the words which you have heard, 27 Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,’ declares the Lord,” (34:26-27).

(This account of the Lord’s Tenderness extended to one who responded to His Word in broken humility, is repeated from 2 Kings 22, and again directs our attention to that which the Lord desires for every one of His children. As we consider His repeated Truth today, may the Lord so move in us; that we too would have hearts that are tender and humble before Him.)

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.

But at the tender age of sixteen, while just a youth, he began to seek God; and his seeking changed the trajectory of his own life, as well as that of his entire kingdom.

For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images, (34:3).

Scripture does not expound on why Josiah turned his heart to seek after God, and thus 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; 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 the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left, (34:2).

From the time he became king, and during the subsequent eighteen years of his life, Josiah grew in his commitment to righteousness, holiness, and the purging of his kingdom from idolatry. And now at the age of 26, King Josiah set his heart to repair the damages to the house of the LORD.

Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah an official of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God, (34:8).

And as a result, the Book of the Law is found. 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 law, he tore his clothes. 20 Then the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, 21 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book which has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord which is poured out on us because our fathers have not observed the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book,” (34:19-21).

And into this overwhelming anguish, the LORD extends His Tenderness Towards the Tenderhearted.

Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord, (34:27).

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 God…I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord, (34:27).
      • “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).
      • These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, (1 John 5:13-14).
  • His Tenderness Towards the Tenderhearted Bestows His Peace.
    • Behold, I will gather you to your fathers and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace,” (34:28).
      •  “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
        Because he trusts in You.
        “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.
    • “…so your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place and on its inhabitants,” (34:28).
      • 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,
        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; 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).
  • His Tenderness Towards the Tenderhearted Moves Hearts to Respond in Obedience.
    • Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord to walk after the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant written in this book. 32 Moreover, he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand with him. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. 33 Josiah removed all the abominations from all the lands belonging to the sons of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel to serve the Lord their God. Throughout his lifetime they did not turn from following the Lord God of their fathers, (34:31-33).
      • “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances,” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
      • for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure, (Philippians 2:13).

How do we respond to His Tenderness towards the Tenderhearted?

  • Let us come to Him in humility and assurance that He will look down from Heaven to hear the Tenderhearted who are humble before Him.
    • “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
      Where then is a house you could build for Me?
      And where is a place that I may rest?
      “For My hand made all these things,
      Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord.
      “But to this one I will look,
      To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word,”
      (Isaiah 66:1-2).
    • “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. 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).
  • Let us be Tenderhearted as Josiah who sent word in order to hear what the LORD had to say; that we would seek 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 in humility and brokenness, seeking to hear from Him, 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, “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 to trust 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.
      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 I know my transgressions,
      And my sin is ever before me.
      Against You, You only, I have sinned
      And done what is evil in Your sight,
      So that You are justified when You speak
      And blameless when You judge,
      (Psalm 51:3-4).
    • 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…
      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, 27-28).
    • 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).
  • And, as we humble ourselves in Tenderhearted obedience, let us pray the Lord would use us as His vessel to lovingly share with others the Tenderness we have received from Him.
    • Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life,
      but whoever ignores correction leads others astray,
      (Proverbs 10:17 NIV).
    • “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:19-20)/
    • Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, (1 Peter 1:22).

Let’s Grow Together!

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