Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spoke against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. (2 Kings 22:19)
In the passage above, young King Josiah wept as he heard the Word of God read. He wept for the failures of himself and his people to obey the LORD God. That passion for obedience to God is founded upon confidence in His goodness--the 'rightness' of God's commands. Jesus' words as translated in the New Living Translation convey the idea well: "I know that His commands will bring eternal life..." (John 12:50). Jesus came that those who believed on Him would have abundant, unending life. Obedience to God and abundant living are integrally entwined!
Despite Jesus' passion for obedience, He says He did not come to judge. He Himself wept at the stubbornness and unbelief of those He came to save. In Isaiah it was prophesied that the Messiah would be despised and rejected--yet would not open His mouth. Jesus simply stayed focused on the Father's will and completed His task--deliverance of all who would believe to abundant, eternal life! King Josiah offers us a similar example: he mourned his own failures as well as those of his people, and he set out to obey all that was made known to him. We will do well to imitate their examples.
There is much to mourn in this our world today: false gods abound (wealth, prestige, pleasure); pagan religions are flourishing; immorality is glorified. When we allow the Spirit to convict us of our own shortcomings, we will be awed by His mercy. When we worship Him, the heartbreak of the damage of sin to the world around us will move us to tears. Harsh judgment and criticism of others will not soften hearts to the mercy of God; however, confession of our own shortcomings, repentance and determined obedience will witness to God's glory. Weeping for the lives damaged and destroyed by sin prepares us to serve those who are held captive in darkness. Sorrow for sin aligns our hearts with God's own heart.
May our hearts be broken for the damage to lives darkened by sin; may we be so awed by God's glory that we will lift Jesus up for all to see!
What do you see in the world around you that makes you sad...makes your heart break?
What does God have to say about it?
How can you help others to see God's sorrow and His solution for the problem?
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32)