Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that is written in this book.
Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heard his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbled thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord. (2 Chronicles 34:21, 27)
When King Josiah heard the news, he was shocked! The Word of God had been rediscovered in the temple after many years of idolatry. The Scriptures were being read in his hearing. Because he had a tender heart (2 Chronicles 34:27), God’s Word made a powerful impression on him. He quickly realized what it meant for his nation. When he learned that the wrath of God was upon his people, he made an inquiry to the Lord. When he heard God’s Word, he had an appetite for more of God’s message. He wanted more light.
Why did Josiah have such a hunger for God’s Word? We have an infallible eyewitness account of his hungry heart. The Lord gave a testimony about Josiah’s tenderness. Even now, the Lord is observing your heart. In 2 Chronicles 16:9 we learn,
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him.”
Now would be the right time to “pour out your heart before Him.”
Now the question for us is this: do you want more? Are you hungering and thirsting for the righteousness of God (Matthew 5)? Do you long for the one who fills the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 107:9)? Josiah wanted more.
Josiah wanted more for himself, and more for his nation (vs. 21).
He desperately wanted to know more about God’s Truth for His times. From the way he responded in 2 Chronicles 34, we can see that he wanted to testify to the next generation. This approach honors the Lord: “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).
The Lord said that Josiah’s heart was tender. Twice, the Lord described how Josiah humbled himself. He was ready to hear anything that the Lord wanted to say to him. He would not resist, but he would respond with obedience. The Lord God witnessed Josiah’s expression of grief when Josiah tore his clothes. Josiah poured out his heart before his God. The Lord witnessed the tears that Josiah wept. How comforting it must have been to Josiah’s heart when he heard the words, “I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord.”
Across the ages, the saints of God with tender hearts have humbled themselves before the Lord with weeping. In Psalm 56:8, David implored the Lord, “put my tears in your bottle.” Josiah wept for the wrath of the Lord was upon his nation. The truth of God’s Word brought him to the place of weeping as an intercessor for his nation.
— Gordon Dickson