Heart Filled Hump Days
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?
To view an introductory video on this series click here.
Did you know the heart is mentioned in scripture nearly 1,000 times? Actually, I couldn’t find another body part mentioned more often than the heart in the Bible except for hands.
Anything mentioned that often demands my attention.
As we begin this series together, I clearly want us to deepen our scriptural knowledge and understand the heart’s importance, but that’s not my primary concern. The Pharisee’s were perhaps those most educated in God’s law and yet, Jesus said, “in vain they worship me.”
Jesus came for our hearts. Our whole hearts. If you’re like me, you don’t always know how to give it. You may not always know what that really looks like.
Through this series, my prayer is for us to:
- Examine our own hearts in ways we never have.
- As we do, let’s invite Christ into every place. Those exposed and those that are hidden.
- Ask God to examine our hearts in ways we’ve never asked.
- What do you see Lord?
- Draw near to God with our whole hearts.
- May we learn to run quickly to our Father’s lap for the intimacy and closeness we long for, knowing there we are loved and accepted.
They may be simple in concept, but it may not be easy to get there. It is a process and often a long one. A lifelong one.
God made a beautiful promise to Jeremiah.
Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you know not.… Click To Tweet
As we dig through God’s word throughout this series and as we call unto Him, I have no doubt He will answer us and show us great and mighty things we didn’t know.
Until next week beloved.
From the heart,