A Tender Heart

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: II Kings 22:14-20


I.         The heart of Josiah

            A.        Those were dark days in the kingdom. For 55 years his grandfather had harshly ruled over Judah – a reign of evil and terror - II Kings 21:1-2, 6

                        1.         So terrible were his murderous ways that it was said that the streets of the capital were awash with blood from one end to the other – II Kings 21:16

                        2.         It took being conquered by an enemy nation to shake Manasseh and he returned to God at a late age - II Chronicles 33:10-13

                        3.         When his grandfather died and his father rose to rule at the age of 22, the evil returned in even greater proportions - II Chronicles 33:21-23

                        4.         In just two short years Amon was so hated and despised that his own servants plotted to murder him in the palace - II Chronicles 33:24

                        5.         After over 50 years of wickedness conducted by cruel and evil kings, Josiah was crowned king at the age of 8 – II Chronicles 34:1

            B.        After so many years of darkness and bloodshed, what kind of leader would Josiah turn out to be?

                        1.         II Kings 22:2

                        2.         A major event in Josiah’s life occurred when he was 26.

                                    a.         Josiah had ordered the temple to be cleaned out and repaired

                                    b.         During the work, the priests found the book of Law in the temple. It was brought to Josiah and read to the king – II Kings 22:10-11

                                    c.         Josiah tore his clothes in grief on hearing the sins of his people and he wept before God.

                        3.         God’s answer was thus - II Kings 22:18-20

                        4.         Josiah was a man with a tender heart.

            C.        In the Bible, the heart does not refer to the organ in your chest that pumps blood.

                        1.         The heart refers to the very core or center of a person’s being.

                        2.         “The heart is used in Scripture as the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity.” (J. Stowell, Fan the Flame, Moody 1986, p. 13)

            D.        I know people like Josiah. People with tender hearts. Hearts that are touched by the aches and sorrows of others; hearts that share and feel the pain of others and reach out to help.

                        1.         Tender hearts are not just soft, they are strong enough to bear the burdens of others.

                        2.         Tenders hearts are not just gentle, but they are mighty in handling the tasks before them.

                        3.         Tender hearts are not just caring, but courageous in doing what needs to be done.

                        4.         I want a heart like Josiah; a heart pleasing to God and helpful to men.

II.        A heart that listens

            A.        A hard heart will not listen - Exodus 8:19

                        1.         God pleads for the stubborn of heart to listen - Isaiah 46:12

            B.        A tender heart trembles and listens to God - Isaiah 66:1-2

                        1.         It is a cultivated ground, ready to receive the seed.

                        2.         It respects God’s Word - Psalm 119:161

                        3.         It listens - Isaiah 66:5a

            C.        A tender heart listens to others

                        1.         Teenagers in trouble were asked “Is there anything you needed most and couldn’t get?” The invariable answer was “What I needed most was someone to listen to me. Someone who cared enough to listen to me.” (Jim Reapsome, Homemade)

                        2.         Our God listens to us

                                    a.         He hearkens unto the voice of my cry - Psalm 5:2

                                    b.         He hears the voice of my weeping - Psalm 6:8

                                    c.         He considers and hears me - Psalm 13:3

                                    d.         He inclines His ear unto me, and hears my speech - Psalm 17:6

                                    e.         The Lord will hear thee in the day of trouble - Psalm 20:1

                                    f.         He will hear me speedily - Psalm 69:17

                                    g.         He hears my voice according to His loving kindness - Psalm 119:149

                                    h.         In my distress I cried unto the Lord and he heard me - Psalm 120:1

                        3.         We should imitate our God - Ephesians 5:1

                        4.         Be swift to hear - James 1:19

                                    a.         “I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day, . . . Before long, things around our home started reflecting the patter of my hurry-up style. It had become unbearable. I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, ‘Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin’ and I’ll tell you really fast.’ Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, ‘Honey you can tell me – and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.’ I’ll never forget her answer: ‘Then listen slowly.’” (Charles Swindol, Bits and Pieces, June 24, 1993, Page 13-14)

            D.        Let us have a tender heart that listens to God and man

III.       A heart that is humble

            A.        A proud heart cannot be tender

                        1.         Pride causes us to forget God - Deuteronomy 8:14

                        2.         Pride hardens the heart - Daniel 5:20

                        3.         A hard heart follows trouble - Proverbs 28:14

                        4.         A hard heart follows sin - Psalm 95:8-11

            B.        A tender heart is humble toward God

                        1.         Remember what God said of Josiah? - II Chronicles 34:27

                        2.         God dwells with the contrite and humble - Isaiah 57:15

                        3.         God does not despise the contrite - Psalm 51:17

            C.        A tender heart is humble

                        1.         If you ever have been chilled by the icy blast of a hard heart; stung by the sting of harsh words from the arrogant; hurt by the steely eyes of the proud, then you know the pain caused by a proud heart. You also know the value and comfort a tender, humble heart radiates.

                        2.         “Many years ago, professor Stuart Blackie of the University of Edinburgh was listening to his students as they presented oral readings. When one young man rose to begin his recitation, he held his book in the wrong hand. The professor thundered, ‘Take your book in your right hand, and be seated!’ At this harsh rebuke, the student held up his right arm. He didn’t have a right hand! The other students shifted uneasily in their chairs. For a moment the professor hesitated. Then he made his way to the student, put his arm around him, and with tears streaming from his eyes, said ‘I never knew about it. Please, will you forgive me?’ His humble apology made a lasting impact on that young man. This story was told some time later in a large gathering of believers. At the close of the meeting a man came forward, turned to the crowd and raised his right arm. It ended at the wrist. He said, ‘I was that student. Professor Blackie led me to Christ. But he never could have done it if he had not made the wrong right.’” (Source unknown)

                        3.         I Peter 5:5-6

IV.      A heart that weeps

            A.        A tender heart weeps for the sins committed against God

                        1.         Josiah wept because of the sins of his people - II Kings 22:19

                        2.         Tender hearts morn over their sins and turn from them

                                    a.         They will see and feel the ugliness of sin. The burden of the guilt of sin will grieve their souls.

                                    b.         Joel 2:12-13

                                    c.         James 4:8-9

            B.        It is not just weeping over their own sins. We need tender hearted people who feel and share the tears of those around them

                        1.         Jeremiah’s tears for his people - Jeremiah 9:1

                        2.         Jesus’ tears for his friends - John 11:33-36

                        3.         Our hearts should be touched by the troubles of others - Romans 12:15

                        4.         There was a contest once to find the most caring child. The winner was a four-year-old child whose next door neighbor had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry.” (Jack Canfield, A Third serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul)

V.        A heart that helps

            A.        The hard-hearted withholds help from those who need it.

                        1.         God’s people were told not to withhold help - Deuteronomy 15:7

                        2.         God wants more than just compassion toward others. He wants us to act with compassion toward those who are less fortunate.

            B.        Replace the selfish, hard heart with tender, helping hearts

                        1.         I John 3:16-18

                        2.         In Oceanside, California, Mr. Alter’s fifth-grade class made headlines when the boys in the class decided by themselves to shave their heads. They did so without embarrassment because one of their own, Ian O’Gorman, developed cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy. His hair began to fall out, so to make their friend feel at home and one of the crowd, all his classmates agreed to shave their heads (with their parent’s permission), so that upon his return, Ian would not stand out in the class.

VI.      A heart that forgives

            A.        In order to forgive as we ought, Christians must be tenderhearted

                        1.         Ephesians 4:31-32

                        2.         Colossians 3:12-13

            B.        Our tender hearts are to extend even to our enemies

                        1.         Luke 6:35-36

                        2.         Listen to this letter found in the clothing of a dead child at the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany: “O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us. Instead, remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering: our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble. When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.”

VII.     A heart that repents

            A.        The hard of heart refuses to repent

                        1.         Romans 2:3-6

                        2.         They mock and despise God’s goodness

                        3.         They will not repent, nor turn away from sin and unto God.

            B.        Yet the tender hearted will repent of sin

                        1.         They weep, but they also change - Joel 2:12-13

                        2.         Simon learned this lesson - Acts 8:22-23

VIII.    A heart that obeys

            A.        God has always wanted His people to follow Him

                        1.         Deuteronomy 30:2

                        2.         David’s prayer for his son, Solomon - I Chronicles 29:19

                        3.         A request to follow - Psalms 119:34

            B.        It is God who gives us tender hearts

                        1.         But to do so, we must give our heart to God - Jeremiah 24:7

                        2.         Ezekiel 36:26-28 (also Ezekiel 11:19-20)

            C.        We cannot be saved without a tender heart

                        1.         Belief must come from the heart - Romans 10:9-10

                        2.         Obedience must come from the heart - Luke 8:15

                                    a.         Romans 6:17 - obedient from the heart

                                    b.         Ephesians 6:5-7 - in sincerity of heart

            D.        Imagine that you work for a company whose president found it necessary to travel out of the country and spend an extended period of time abroad. So he says to you and other trusted employees, “Look, I’m going to leave. And while I’m gone, I want you to pay close attention to the business. Manage things while I’m away. I will write you regularly. When I do, I will instruct you in what you should do from now until I return from this trip.” Everyone agrees. He leaves and stays gone for a few years. During that time he writes often, communicating his desires and concerns. Finally he returns. He walks up to the front door of the company and immediately discovers everything is in a mess – weeds flourishing in the flower beds, windows broken across the front of the building, the gal at the front desk dozing, loud music roaring from several offices. Instead of making a profit, the business suffered a great loss. Without hesitation he calls everyone together and with a frown asks, “What happened? Didn’t you get my letters?” You say, “Oh yeah, sure. We got all your letters. We’ve bound them in a book. And some of us have memorized them. In fact, we have a letter study every week. You know those were really great letters.” I think the president would then ask, “But what did you do about my instructions?” And no doubt the employees would respond, “Do? Well, nothing. But we read every one!” (Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p. 242)

            E.        Those who obey the Gospel must have tender hearts - Acts 2:37-38

IX.      Do you have a tender heart?

            A.        The proof is in your response to the word of God.

            B.        Will you learn of your sins, weep over your mistakes, repent of your ways, and obey the Lord in baptism?

            C.        Or as a child of God, cultivate that seed which was planted in you. Be kind hearted, pleasing God and winning souls to His service.

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