When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.
-2 Kings 22:11
I’m just going to stop, right there. I want you to get this picture in your mind. It says, King Josiah, he hears God’s Word spoken. And just hearing the words of God, he tears his clothes. This is a picture of repentance, of sorrow, deep sorrow over sin, because he knows the people of God have not been following this Word. And so, he has broken over it. He literally breaks his clothes. He begins weeping. He’s humbling himself before God, because of conviction in his heart brought about by the Word of God. Confession in his life, among the people of God brought about by the Word of God.
God hears the cries of the humble and the repentant and the broken and the convicted, who hear his Word with a soft heart.
And we read later in verse 19 of this chapter, how God says, “because your heart was penitent. And because you humbled yourself before me, when you heard my Word. You’ve torn your clothes and wept before me.” God says, “I have heard you. I’ve heard your cries.” God hears the cries of the humble and the repentant and the broken and the convicted, who hear his Word with a soft heart. And reply with humble submission and confession and contrition.
So God, we pray that our hearts would be like Josiah’s in this way. God, we pray that, when we hear your Word, whether it’s in a podcast episode like this, whether it’s when we open our Bibles to read it… And God help us to be faithful to do that. We know that’s part of the problem here, in Second Kings is, that they’d gone so long, is they had gone so long without listening to your Word. So, God help us to hear your Word, to listen to it.
And God, when we see areas of our lives, that don’t align with your Word, in our families, in our churches, in our country, in the world around us, God we pray that you’d give us soft hearts and bring us to our knees. Maybe not specifically to tear our clothes, as was the custom in that day, but God for broken hearts, for contrition over sin.
God, don’t let us just casually read your Word without conviction and humility and repentance, change of heart and change of mind and change of life, driven by your Word. God, we pray for humility of heart before your Word for brokenness over any and every way we disobey it. God, help us to pause continually in our time with you, examine our heart in the light of your Word and to respond in repentance and obedience.
God, make us this kind of people, whenever we hear your Word. In Jesus’ name we pray this, the name of the one who has died on a cross so that we could be forgiven of all of our sins, who’s risen from the grave, and ascended into heaven, and sent his Spirit so we might have new hearts, hearts like this. God, we pray for this humility of heart in response to your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.