Grieved to His Heart
For this morning’s exhortation I want to take a minute and comment on a verse that showed up last week in Genesis 6. Let me read Genesis 6:5–6,
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
So it’s this last phrase: “it grieved him to his heart.” This word here for grief is only used like this one other time in the Old Testament, and it’s in Genesis 34. And here’s the story there.
Jacob, by this point, has had 12 sons, and he also has daughters, and one of his daughters was named Dinah. And well, one day Dinah is out and about and a man named Shechem, a Hivite, sees her and kidnaps her, and he violates her. The text says he humiliated her. And then he wants to keep her as his wife. Well, word gets to her father, Jacob, and when Jacob’s sons find out, her big brothers, the text says, in Genesis 34:7, that they were “indignant.” And the word translated as indignant in Genesis 34:7 is the word translated as “grieved” in Genesis 6:6. They’re the same word, and they’re getting at the same thing. Basically, this tells us that God’s response to what sin has done in this world is the same as these brothers’ response when they find out their sister has been violated.
And I think this gets at a couple things. . .
One, it speaks to the heart of God. He is grieved to the heart by sin. And we’re not talking about sin in general, we’er talking about our sin. God is grieved to the heart by my sin and your sin. He’s not distant and arbitrary. He’s invested in the details of our lives, and he cares. He cares so much so that our rebellion against him, our sin, grieves him to his heart. That’s what we learn here.
And then second, I think this speaks to the reality of what sin is. Sin is a violation of God’s good creation. Catch the euphemism here. Sin violates the world that God made for his glory. Which is why we need to be rescued from sin. And that’s why, when we gather, we have times like this when we confess our sins to God. Let’s pray.
Prayer of Confession
Father, we acknowledge in this moment that you are not distant and out of touch with what we have going on in our lives. You know us and you know our details. You know even the deep things and the hidden thoughts. You know it all. And that means you know our sin. You know all the ways that we have turned from you and sought our joy in lesser things. You know all the excuses we have made, all the rationale we’d try to give for why we consider you less than what you are. And so we pray that you would forgive us. Have mercy on us, Father. Forgive us for sinful things we’ve done, and for the good things we have left undone. And remind us now of the gospel fact, that Jesus came and died for us, that Jesus was raised from the dead for us, and that in Jesus we are forgiven, in Jesus we are righteousness, in Jesus we are yours forever. We are loved by you, God, all because of your grace. Make this truth sink deep into our hearts even as we now confess our sins to you in silence. . . .