Letters from Neil | April 16th, 2020

Redemption AZ / May 31, 2020
covid-19, salt

April 16, 2020

Good morning once again Salties and friends,

I am fortunate to be staying busy at the church office so the weeks are still flying by for me. My dear wife on the other hand is missing her opportunity to care for the sick and is somewhat regretting her decision to retire. Our next verse 6:6 talks about God regretting His decision that he made man on the earth. 

There is no hiding His disappointment with His plans. On the one hand God does not change his mind (Num 23:19), yet in another way He does (Hosea 11:7-9). For though He is unchangeable, that unchangeableness is not arbitrary or unreasonable, as if no altered circumstances could lead God to change His mind. It is unchangeableness of purpose that we ascribe to God as His perfection, not unchangeableness of procedure. It is through the very variation of His procedure that He carries out His unchangeable purpose. 

The verse continues “it grieved Him to His heart.” The expression is so strong we can’t help wondering, is it right to say that about God? But it’s what God says about Himself. Here He gives us insight into His heart; how incredible is His concern for rebellious mankind. It is the same word that He uses in Psalm 78:40, when He speaks of Israel grieving Him in the desert; and in Isaiah 63:10, when He speaks of their grieving His Holy Spirit. Only it is stronger here in Genesis 6, because, “it grieved Him to His heart.”

This wasn’t some unexpected crisis. It was not that God’s purpose was frustrated. It was not that God is subject to the whims of sinful people. It was not even that he stopped caring for the works of His hands, and to wish that they had never been. But God is here speaking about the hearts of men. He is looking at facts simply as they are, without reference to past or future. He tells us what He thinks and feels. Nor do God’s eternal purposes alter His estimate of events. It was God’s purpose that Christ should be delivered up and murdered; yet that did not alter God’s estimate of the crime. God is looking at the scene just as a man would look at it, and expressing Himself in language that a person would have done under such circumstances. He sees all the present misery and ruin which the scene presents, which truly affects Him; and as they affect Him he tells us. The scene affects God just as it would have affected a wise and tender-hearted parent; and His words demonstrate it. God’s love, hatred, wrath, pity, grief, are all real; and they correspond to those feelings which He has planted in us; with the only difference, that in God there is no sin.

God is grieved at the change which sin has made in the works of His hands. He is grieved at the dishonor the sin has brought upon Himself. He is grieved at man’s misery and ruin. He is grieved because He must be the one to pronounce their sentence. How incredibly gracious is our God. How unwilling to destroy, how willing to bless and to save! What great love in Jesus does He still offer to rebellious sinners. Let’s be thankful for his great grace to us today and every day.

Love, Neil