“The Tender Heart” by Richard Sibbes, 2 Chronicles 34:27 (Humility, Honor, Service, The Beatitudes)

The Tender Heart, by Richard Sibbes

2 Chronicles 34:27
Because your heart was tender, and you did humble yourself before God, when you heard his words against this place…

We see that waters of the same colour have not the same nature and effect, for hot waters are of the same colour with plain ordinary waters, yet more effectual; so the words of man coming from a man may seem at first to be the same with others, yet notwithstanding, the words of God coming from the Spirit of God carry a more wonderful excellency in them even to hearts of kings. Therefore Huldah speaks to the king, “Thus saith the Lord,” etc. Josiah in uprightness sends to inquire, and the Lord returns him a full and upright answer. Whence we may learn —

I. THAT GOD DOTH GRACIOUSLY FIT PROPHETS FOR PERSONS, AND HIS WORD TO A PEOPLE THAT ARE UPRIGHT IN THEIR HEARTS. Where there is a true desire to know the will of God, there God will give men sincere prophets that shall answer them exactly. But those that are false-hearted shall have suitable teachers, who shall instruct them according to their lusts. If they be like Ahab, they shall have four hundred false prophets to teach falsehood to please their lusts (1 Kings 22:6); but if they be Davids they shall have Nathans. If they be Josiahs they shall have Huldahs and Jeremiahs. God commended Josiah because his heart was tender. A tender heart is —

1. Sensitive.

2. Pliable.

3. Yielding.

II. THAT IT IS A SUPERNATURAL DISPOSITION OF A TRUE CHILD OF GOD TO HAVE A TENDER, SOFT, AND A MELTING HEART. All by nature have stony hearts in respect of spiritual goodness. Say what you will to a hard heart, it will never yield. A hammer will do no good to a stone. It may break it in pieces, but not draw it to any form. So to a stony heart all the threatenings in the world will do no good. You may break it in pieces but never work upon it. It must be the Almighty power of God. All that are gracious must of necessity have soft hearts.


1. How a tender heart is wrought. It is made tender by Him who made it (Ezekiel 11:19).

1. God through the use of means softens it by His Word, in producing apprehension of judgment.

2. It is wrought by an apprehension of tenderness and love in Christ. Many say that an adamant cannot be melted with fire, but by blood. I cannot tell whether this be true or no; but I am sure nothing will melt the hard heart of man but the blood of Christ.

3. When the heart is made tender by the Spirit, many things will work tenderness.

(1)  The works of God.

(2)  His judgments.

(3)  The Word and sacraments.

(4)  God’s promises.

2. How it may be preserved and maintained.

(1)  Keep under the means whereby God’s Spirit will work.

(2)  Seek to realise the forlorn state of the Church abroad.

(3)  Labour for a legal and evangelical faith.

(4)  Associate with those who are tender-hearted.

(5)  Take heed of the least sin against conscience. As water, when it begins to freeze, will not endure anything, not so much as the weight of a pin upon it, but after a while will bear the weight of a cart; even so at the beginning, the heart being tender, trembles at the least sin, and will not bear with any one; but when it once gives way to sins against conscience, it becomes so frozen that it can endure any sin, and so becomes more and more hard.

(6)  Take heed of spiritual drunkenness; that is, be not drunk with an immoderate use of the creatures (Hosea 4:11).

(7)  Take heed of hypocrisy.

(8)  Take heed of great sins.

(9)  Consider the miserable estate of hardness of heart.

8. How it may be discerned from the contrary. By applying of the soul unto objects —

(1)  To God. As it is tender from God, so it is tender for God. He that hath a tender heart cannot endure to dishonour God himself, or to hear others dishonour Him.

(2)  To His Word. A tender heart is sensitive to —

(a) Its threatening (Isaiah 66:22 Corinthians 5:112 Peter 3:11); its promises, its directions (Isaiah 6:8Psalm 27:8).

(3) To the works of God. A tender heart quakes when it sees the judgments of God upon others.

(4)  To our regard of the estate of others, whether they be good or bad (Psalm 119:136Philippians 3:18Matthew 23:37Matthew 11:25).Conclusion:

1. What an excellent thing a tender heart is (Isaiah 57:15).

2. It fits a man for the end for which he was created. The service of God.

3. It is fit for any blessedness. It is capable of any beatitude.

4. Consider the wretched state of a heart that is not tender, and will not yield.

( R. Sibbes..)

Parallel Verses

KJV: Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.

WEB: because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God, when you heard his words against this place, and against its inhabitants, and have humbled yourself before me, and have torn your clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard you,” says Yahweh.

“What is Honor in the Bible?”, from L.Willows with Prayer to Honor God

Honor is something that we value in one another and in every culture. It describes the very core of one’s character. In a way, it also describes the ‘respect’ that we give to one another. It is a method of attributing value. For each of us that can take on great meaning in our personal journeys. In the Bible, it is a word with a deep and significant life. Please enjoy the Prayer at the end. Prayer honors God. When we pray in our daily lives, it turns our hearts towards Him with love. The power of “honoring” and ‘what you honor’ is mighty!


Social term describing how people within a society evaluate one another. Most occurrences of honor in the Old Testament are translations of some form of kabod [d/b’K], while in the New Testament they are derivatives of timao [timavw]. These terms are generally used with reference to the honor granted fellow human beings, though in some cases they are used to describe the honor a person grants God.

The root of kabod [d/b’K] literally means heavy or weighty. The figurative meaning, however, is far more common: “to give weight to someone.” To honor someone, then, is to give weight or to grant a person a position of respect and even authority in one’s life. A person grants honor most frequently on the basis of position, status, or wealth, but it can and should also be granted on the basis of character.

While honor is an internal attitude of respect, courtesy, and reverence, it should be accompanied by appropriate attention or even obedience. Honor without such action is incomplete; it is lip service ( Isa 29:13 ). God the Father, for example, is honored when people do the things that please him ( 1 Cor 6:20 ). Parents are honored through the obedience of their children.

The source of all honor is God on the basis of his position as sovereign Creator and of his character as a loving Father. God the Father has bestowed honor on his Son, Jesus Christ ( John 5:23 ). He bestowed honor on humanity by creating man a little lower than the angels ( Psalm 8:5-6 ). He has also created spheres of authority within human government, the church, and the home. The positions of authority in those spheres are to receive honor implicitly.

The granting of honor to others is an essential experience in the believer’s life. Christians are to bestow honor on those for whom honor is due. The believer is to honor God, for he is the sovereign head of the universe and his character is unsurpassed. The believer is to honor those in positions of earthly authority, such as governing authorities ( Rom 13:1-7 ), masters ( 1 Tim 6:1 ), and parents ( Exod 20:12 ). As a participant in the church, the believer is also called to honor Jesus Christ, the head of the church ( John 5:23 ), fellow believers ( Rom 12:10 ), and widows ( 1 Tim 5:3 ).

While the reception of honor is a positive experience, it is not to be sought ( Luke 14:7-8 ). When honor comes from others by reason of position or status, it is not to be taken for granted. The recipients should seek to merit honor through godly character. Honor can be lost through disobedience or disrepute, though in exceptional cases, dishonor is a mark of discipleship ( 2 Cor 6:8).
Sam Hamstra, Jr.

Source: Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell

Prayer to Honor God

My King,

My heart opens before you, loving.
My words, praising.
My voice, halting with humility
for you are the All that I would want of life,
of this world, of anything, of Ever.
You are the beginning and the end of me and of all of us.
How can my loving speak in words? How can my heart say enough?

Oh, King Jesus.
Wrap my heart in You.
Take me into your Kingdom of love,
I Honor you.

Father, Holy Spirit, All ~
Can such be the bliss that comes to us, even us.
In the midst,
We Honor You.

In Jesus Name,

© 2019 Linda Willows