Because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and against its inhabitants, … and wept before me, I also have heard you. says the LORD.
2 Chronicles 34:27.
During renovation work on the temple the priest Hilkiah discovered the book of the law. Presumably it was the five book of Moses. The Word of God was instantly brought to king Josiah, and Shaphan the scribe read aloud from it to him. When the monarch heard the accusation it contained, he realized how seriously God had been dishonoured by His people. Josiah tore his garments as a sign of his repentance and mourning.
God acknowledged his humiliation and sent him a message through Hulda the prophetess. The misfortune that He determined to bring upon Jerusalem and its inhabitants would not affect the unfaithful nation until after the king’s death.
One characteristic particularly marks out Josiah in this incident: his heart became tender. It had not been stunted against evil, nor was it indifferent towards the Word of God. For this reason it displeased the king when the words of the law uncovered the dreadful state of the nation of Israel.
How do we react when God shows His displeasure over wrong attitudes in our life through His Word? How do we behave when reading the Word reveals the lamentable condition of God’s heavenly people?
The Lord sees whether our heart is tender and we humble ourselves because of our failure. He can then show His grace.
“A broken and a contrite heart – these, o God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:19).