Month: August 2017
Last week we looked at God’s unfavorable response to man’s wickedness.
- And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. Genesis 6:6
- I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth… for it repenteth me that I have made them. Genesis 6:7
God’s heart was so grieved that twice, scripture states, He was sorry He even made man. So He destroyed His creation.
God’s favorable response to the situation was to establish a covenant with a man named Noah who had found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 6:8,18) Despite God’s grieved heart, He didn’t utterly destroy mankind. Through Noah, ultimately, you and I also found grace.
We’ve discovered through this study so far the condition of man’s heart. We’ve taken a look at God’s heart and seen it’s response to the heart of man.
We can clearly see by God’s actions that from the heart can arise intense emotion that can have intense ramifications.
Let’s continue our look into the heart.
And the Lord smelled...
Noah built an altar unto the Lord and offered burnt offerings of every clean beast and foul.
God smelled it and called it sweet. Here we see God’s senses were engaged.
The Hebrew word used for smelled is ruwach:
- to perceive
From this aromatic offering, God’s heart was moved to make the following decree:
“I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing, as I have done.”
I wonder here what God meant in saying, “For the imaginations of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” What, if anything, did man’s heart being evil from his youth have to do with God’s decree?
Had He reflected on His decision to destroy the human race before Noah?
Did He see or remember that man’s heart was wicked from childhood and thus, without being rescued, would remain so?
I consulted Matthew Henry’s commentary on this and he states the following:
“He (man) is rather to be pitied, for it is all the effect of sin dwelling in him; and it is but what might be expected from such a degenerate race: he is called a transgressor from the womb, and therefore it is not strange that he deals so very treacherously,” Isa. 48:8. Thus God remembers that he is flesh, corrupt and sinful.”
Was it the sacrifice itself that caused God’s heart to make this promise? Was the sacrifice a representation of something to come?
As you can see, as I study the heart myself, I have questions. I like questions though. Questions challenge me to think deeper. They cause me to search, to study, and pray for the answers I seek. Though I may not always have them this side of Heaven, I usually come away with greater wisdom and understanding as I search.
I’d love to hear your take on today’s study?
Have you had some of the same questions? Do they challenge any of your existing thoughts about these verses? How so?
We looked last week at the heart’s first mention in scripture:
- And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5
Today we’ll take a look at its next occurrence:
Repented, or nacham in Hebrew, means:
- to sigh, i.e. breathe strongly
- to be sorry i.e. (in a favorable sense) to pity, console, or rue
- to avenge (unfavorably)
To repent means to make a strong turning to a new course of action.
This scripture forces me to pause. In Genesis 1:31, God, after making man in his own image, beheld everything he’d made and declared it to be good. But after the fall and when men began to multiply, what he saw no longer seemed good.
When are sighs ever a good sign?
My husband says I have mastered the art of the sigh. As proficient as I may be at it, I can’t imagine how God’s sounded as he looked upon man’s wickedness and the evil imaginations of our hearts.
“…it grieved his heart.”
Here were learn something extremely important.
- God has a heart
In fact, this Hebrew word used for God’s heart is the very same one we discussed last week used for man’s heart; leb.
Perhaps this isn’t a startling revelation, but I supposed I never viewed God’s heart quite like my own. I didn’t necessarily see him as having feelings, affections or desires in the way I do.
We also learn through this verse:
- God’s heart can be grieved
That is to mean, (atsab in Hebrew) in a bad sense:
- to worry
Seeing God’s heart respond in such a way opened my understanding of God to a degree. It made Him all the more personal, relateable, and understandable.
When we enter into a relationship with someone, we don’t want to do anything that might cause those types of responses. Nor do I want, in my relationship with God, to cause in Him these type of responses.
Until seeing God’s heart as real as my very own, I wasn’t aware I could produce such a response from Him.
The way this verse reads, you would almost think this took Him by surprise, and yet, we know God from His word to be omniscient, or knowing everything. He declared the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done. (Isaiah 46:10)
But, does that mean God cannot feel or be moved by our actions?
Clearly God was. Genesis 6:7 goes on to tell just how moved He was:
The evil thoughts of man’s heart evoked a very strong emotion in God. So much so, it caused him to destroy man from the face of the earth.
This was obviously the unfavorable response in God’s repentance of creating man.
Join me next week to see God’s favorable response.
For reflection and response: Do these verses affect your view of God? If so how?
We’ve all heard this phrase and if you’re a GRITS (girl raised in the south) like me, you’ve probably said or heard it more times than you can possibly count. It may even be embedded deep in our southerly DNA.
So, what are we blessing exactly? And frankly, and more to the point of this series, what are we really saying and do we even mean it?
I mentioned in our introduction last week the word heart is mentioned nearly 1,000 times in scripture. In order for us to gain a deeper understanding of the heart we must find out three important things:
- Where it is found in scripture?
- What has God said about it?
- Why it is important?
Today, let’s take a look at its very first appearance.
Both man’s heart and its condition are referred to in this verse.
What is man’s heart exactly?
The Hebrew word used here for the heart, leb, explains it best. The heart includes the:
In fact, this word embraces the whole inner man. It stands for the inner being of man, the man himself, and is the fountain of all he does. All his thoughts, desires, words, and actions flow from deep within him.
What is the condition of man’s heart?
God saw that every imagination (purpose) of its thoughts (plan, plot) was only evil continually.
The Hebrew word for evil is, ra’.
Used in the Bible 663 times, ra’ is referred to quite often. It refers to that which is “bad” or “evil,” in a wide variety of applications. A greater number of the word’s occurrences signify something morally evil or hurtful, often referring to man or men.
How often were the hearts thoughts evil?
Continually. That is to mean:
- The whole
- The entirety
In examining the meaning of the words in this verse, it can also be understood like this:
…every intent of man’s whole inner being, in it’s entirety, is bad.
Wow. When broken down like that, its quite sobering to me. God saw, down to our very core, the condition of man’s depraved hearts as they began to multiply after the fall.
Understanding our hearts condition according to scripture is crucial. Our tendency is to view our hearts, or our person, as being bad or good based off of the world’s standards or our own sense of moral justice. We think we are inherently good if we haven’t committed sins according to our own sliding scale. Those we perceive as being “the really bad ones.”
But, we see from this verse and we will continue to see throughout this series, that all men suffer from the same condition of heart.
Join me next week and we’ll look at how God felt when he saw this. In the meantime, did you find this post helpful? If so, in what way?Understanding our hearts condition according to scripture is crucial. Click To Tweet