14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of [d]Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter); and they spoke to her. 15 She said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 thus says the Lord, “Behold, I bring evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.”’ 18 But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord thus shall you say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel, “Regarding the words which you have heard, 19 because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord. 20 “Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place.”’” So they brought back word to the king.
So many times (well, probably always), God’s reaction depends on a heart of repentance and humility, and such was the case for Josiah when he sought God’s word from Huldah the prophetess. God confirms His word that they read, that all sorts of terrible consequences were coming. But, because Josiah and these men humbled themselves before God, they found mercy and forgiveness for their sin and ignorance.
We might look at someone and think, oh they’ve got everything going right, God must be really pleased with them! But it’s all about the condition of the heart. Many of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day looked really good outside, but He called them “whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones”. In other words, their hearts did not match the outside, they were spiritually dead and bankrupt.
We need to be far less concerned with our appearance before others, and instead consider the condition of our hearts. Are we seeking God, searching for His will every day in our lives? Or are we just putting on a show with hollow (dead) hearts? Other people may never know, but we know, and God sees beyond the surface, past the facade. Make God your pursuit, and then the inside will match, or even exceed, what people see on the outside. Then God will be able to say “I truly have heard you…”