This is how it came about that the Lord was sorry that He had made man and that it grieved Him to His heart. - Rev. P.K. KEIZER


Taken from the Clarion (1976) Vol. 25, No. 19.


. . . I am sorry that l have made them." But Noah found favour in the eyes of
the Lord. Genesis 6:7, 8

 

How beautiful it must have been before that revolt of Adam and Eve. Beautiful and good. We read that "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good," (1:31). What a joy of the Lord becomes obvious from that! The LORD God is not satisfied that soon! We sometimes say, "Oh, well, all right, leave it. That will do." Then we are satisfied with that. With centuries of deterioration behind us, we do not even know what is good in that deep and pure sense of Genesis 1. "Very good" - and that in the eyes of God! That rich, brand-new world full of beautiful creatures and those two people without blemish, in ever-lasting youth, in unimaginable joy and peace and safety, with the heaven above their head and therein "our Father who art in heaven." It is impossible to visualize! And, really, it was not that long ago! We should not put the genealogies which we find in God's Word (e.g. Genesis 5) on a level with our Vital Statistics, but they are real genealogies, i.e., involving historical ties of flesh and blood by which we are connected with our forefathers in paradise. Whoever lets that first day disappear in the mist of the past, also loses the view on the last day: "it may take another one thousand years." Then, for all practical purposes, you adhere in your heart to the "new theology," however vehemently you may oppose it. Then you are frightfully close to the "scoffers" in the days of Peter, II Peter 3:3. Those "actual" "scoffers" may well be found closer to the Church than to the pub. They do not invoke with all their might that redeeming day of His coming. To them the day of their death is a silent horror. That, too, is a "scoffing" which sometimes is much more against the actuality of the hard facts of God than cursing and blustering.

There was great joy in heaven and on the earth.

God's heart was in His work and: God's heart has remained in His work!

Therefore Scripture speaks of God's repentance and that He was sorry in His heart. He does not put up with just everything!

That is our only comfort when we ponder that greatest disaster which has come upon the world and upon mankind until now: the great, tremendous flood.

And then He even made known to us His divine feelings! Not only His joy when everything was very good, but also His sorrow.

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But is it distinctly present to our minds what all this meant to the Lord?

To the Lord, Who in the beginning met His rebellious creature with so much grace and Who had again adopted him


Quite something must have happened!

Yes, we know of that wilful apostasy, Genesis 3. Of the murder of Abel, Genesis 4. Of the expansion of the human race on this earth, with that gloomy refrain: "and he died," Genesis 5. Of Lamech and his boastful language and of the erasing of the boundary between the Church and the world, when boys of the Church married girls from the world: "such of them as they chose," Genesis 6:2. Without taking into account the will of God and the line which He had drawn, they simply rolled up the "front" of Genesis 3:15. We do know all those things.

But is it distinctly present to our minds what all this meant to the Lord?

To the Lord, Who in the beginning met His rebellious creature with so much grace and Who had again adopted him?

What must He have felt then!

That's what is appalling!

"I shall take away My Spirit, through Whom they all live and upon Whom they all depend! Then they can experience what they really are: flesh -fragile - mortal! I shall let go of them!"

"I shall destroy the people whom I created, from the face of the earth."

"I am sorry that I have made them." "It grieves me to my heart."

How terribly must we have provoked Him!

I do not know whether you understand this. It doesn't matter either. The believing heart understands that which is dark for the reasoning mind. Don't "touch up" these "cries" of God. Don't make for yourself a Stoic mental image of Him! That would result in Scripture-criticism and an "improved" edition of His Word. God the LORD is unsearchable. In everything He does! His creating is unsearchable. His grace towards us, too. Or don't you have any difficulty with that? God is love: isn't that something which we cannot fathom either?

No, there is no repentance with God such as we have it when we have been mistaken. There is no sorrow with Him such as there is with us when we have sinned. It does not read here: "I was mistaken when I created man." The lord does not say here: "I should never have done this," or: "I should have done it differently," or: "I should have done it better."

Everything was very good. The Lord maintains that, unchangeably. That this world and that mankind have been created towards a certain goal, that remains, definitely. The Lord does not feel sorry about that at all, as if He made a mistake. His heart remains in His work.

But: what did we make of it and what has it become through us? A mess!

We should never psychologically "dissect" these appalling divine feelings and this divine emotion.

You are to hear how in this repentance of God His divine joy reverberates, the joy which He had originally in us, His divine expectations which we did not meet: He expected good grapes . . . Why did I expect that it would yield good grapes . . . He expected righteousness, but lo, blood . . . (Isaiah 5:2, 4, 71.

It could have been completely different with us!

Look at Noah! It could indeed be different! - "Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord." He, too, was a man made by God! And that is something which did not cause Him regret. He kept His divine joy in Noah and God looked at him with eyes full of divine love.

God does not regret that you are here, that mankind is here, that the earth exists - He intends something with that - His heart remains in it in your family, your work, the course of your life. Look at Noah and do as he did.

But He cannot stand it that the Adamitic world had become what it was at that time. And what it is becoming right now is even worse than in those days. He is not content with that! That never was His goal.

Sometimes we just sit down comfortably and shake our head when we read about apostasy, etcetera.

Consider what that is to Him! And how He reacts to that! How tremendously moved, disappointed, grieved, provoked must He have been by what man did and did not do (in what is His world) that He could come to such a thing: destroy, exterminate - flood!

Listen how later on He declaims against Nineveh: "Behold, I am against you, says the LORD of hosts, and will lift up your skirts over your face; and I will let nations look on your nakedness, and kingdoms on your shame. I will throw filth at you and treat you with contempt, and make you a gazing stock," Nahum 3:5. Just like drunken soldiers on the rampage who got hold of a girl . . .! Who would dare to speak this way about God if He did not do so Himself? Listen how He declaims against Babylon when it kept Israel captive: "The Lord goes forth like a mighty man, like a man of war He stirs up His fury; He cries out and shouts aloud, He shows Himself mighty against His foes. For a long time I have held My peace, I have kept still and restrained Myself; now I will cry out like a woman in travail, I will gasp and pant . . ." (Isaiah 42:13 ff.).

That's how Scripture speaks everywhere: "If I had not feared the scorn of the enemy -, well, then I would have blown away My Church," Deuteronomy 32:26. "For forty years I loathed" My Church. "They grieved His Holy Spirit," Isaiah 63:10; cf. Ephesians 4:30; II Thessalonians 5:19.

That's how the LIVING God is! Let's watch out that we don't make a "dead" God of Him Who "of course" is with us always and is at our side.

What was the last straw by which God the Lord came to destroy the earth by means of the flood?

It says so expressly: the earth was full of violence. Don't say just in general moralizing: "the people were ungodly." That is too shallow. The special ungodliness in those days was violence.

We think of Lamech: I shall manage my own affairs. Whoever crosses me, I'll just kill! Violence, aggression which dwells in the hearts of all of us, rebellion, taking the law into one's own hands, hitting out freely if you don't like something - that evil is most obvious and prominent. It is: tyranny, lording it over others. And: women-, sex-, body-culture, race-improvement, selective breeding, superman. Thus there came the giants, the giant ones of "prehistoric times," "men of renown," 6:4, of whom everyone was afraid. It is not unlikely that the gods of the ancient myths (Zeus, Jupiter, Wodan, Donar, Freya, and Mars, the god of war) originally were the names of these beast-men, these giants of the Adamitic mankind as they were preserved in the human memory after that year of world disaster.

This is one of the "signs of the times," "as in the days of Noah." The world of state and church is full of rancour. The Lord Jesus mentions them the one after the other: nation against nation; they will deliver you up and kill you; the one slave of the Lord begins to beat the other slave; they will cast you out of the synagogue, being of the opinion that thereby they do God a favour; the son against the father, the daughter against the mother, three against two, two against three; those who have the authority in state and church are set aside. We know of taking hostages, and so on. The lawlessness of man can no longer be contained.

Will God lash out shortly again? Will His anger burn again and then perhaps in the fire of the last day? For His heart remains in His work, whatever we make of it. He cannot and will not forget that once everything was very good here and that man is of paradisal descent!

Noah walked with God. He found favour in God's eyes. But he was "the preacher of righteousness," II Peter 2:3, just as Enoch, who prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord, Jude 14.

Let there be in us some of His sorrow and of His anger, for only genuine love can lash out in such a manner. You can believe that Enoch, whom they "sought," and Noah and later on Jeremiah and Habakuk and all true prophets also trembled with sorrow and prophetic anger.

We taste in these words the love of God towards His work, a love which is so deep as it has become evident to us in the coming and the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Only that love will hold out. Only that love can in reality prophesy.

Sometimes I get the impression that we believe more in a "theological" God, in a "concept" of God, than that we really know the living God of Enoch and of Noah as He is in truth!

May He throw prophetic "fire" into our hearts really to have sorrow and really to be on our guard before the living God and, at the same time, to be as sober as Noah when he was sawing and hammering, adding board by board to the ark.

If, "grumbling and murmuring," someone says to you in "harsh language," Jude 15, 16, "What kind of world is this! How does God tolerate that!" give Him then in sorrow and shame this reply: "Why do we bring Him to that!" It grieves Him to see what has become of His world, which He so loved that He gave His only begotten Son.

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