Posted by: jamescitty | August 14, 2012

God Grieved?

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I’ve been reading through the book of Genesis the past couple of days for my devotional time and I came to a set of verses that caused me to stop and think.

5 When the LORD saw that man’s wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every scheme his mind thought of was nothing but evil all the time, 6 the LORD regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

After reading the verses I literally had to stop for a moment and contemplate what it meant that God grieved. That God wasn’t just upset by man’s sin; rather, He was literally heartbroken by the transgressions of His creation. He was so grieved that He actually regretted that He had ever created humanity.

Sometimes, I think we have this perception of our sin as just upsetting God. That He is like a father who is simply disappointed in the decisions that their child has made. As though God is simply shaking His head with dissatisfaction at a disobedient child. He’s not really mad or hurt, just disappointed because He knows we could do better. An impersonal reaction to an event that does not offend; rather, it just falls short of His expectations.

Though our sin does disappoint God that does not truly grasp the reality of sin’s affect on God, man, or the relationship between the two. Sin doesn’t just upset God or disappoint Him; rather, sin literally grieves Him. That when we sin, it breaks the heart of God. The word grieved in this context can literally be translated as meaning that it breaks God’s heart that His creation had turned to wickedness. That it crushed Him to the point that He regretted ever creating man.

But why would God grieve? Why would sin affect Him so powerfully that He would literally be heart-broken over the wickedness of man?

The reason is that God loves humanity. God crafted and shaped man into His own image and likeness. No other organism shares in the uniqueness of God as humanity does. Though God delights in all of His creation, His delight in humanity supersedes the rest of creation. 1 John 3:16 states “This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us.” God’s love is so powerful that He sacrifices Himself for His creation. To be hurt or grieved by something, you have to truly care for it. God’s love for humanity causes Him to feel grief and be heartbroken that his creation would turn to something else other than Him.

When we truly understand God’s love for humanity and how our sin affects Him, the motivation to live according to His statutes and character is more apparent. No loving child truly desires to see their parent cry. A spouse does not seek out ways to be unfaithful or hurtful to their partner. In the same manner, as children of God and as the bride of Christ, Christians should seek to love God and live in such a way that He delights in them.

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