Here is, I. God’s resentment of man’s wickedness. He did not see it as an unconcerned spectator, but as one injured and affronted by it; he saw it as a tender father sees the folly and stubbornness of a rebellious and disobedient child, which not only angers him, but grieves him, and makes him wish he had been written childless. The expressions here used are very strange: It repented the Lord that he had made man upon the earth, that he had made a creature of such noble powers and faculties, and had put him on this earth, which he built and furnished on purpose to be a convenient, comfortable, habitation for him; and it grieved him at his heart. These are expressions after the manner of men, and must be understood so as not to reflect upon the honour of God’s immutability or felicity. 1. This language does not imply any passion or uneasiness in God (nothing can create disturbance to the Eternal Mind), but it expresses his just and holy displeasure against sin and sinners, against sin as odious to his holiness and against sinners as obnoxious to his justice. He is pressed by the sins of his creatures (Amos 2:13), wearied (Isa. 43:24), broken (Ezek. 6:9), grieved (Ps. 95:10), and here grieved to the heart, as men are when they are wronged and abused by those they have been very kind to, and therefore repent of their kindness, and wish they had never fostered that snake in their bosom which now hisses in their face and stings them to the heart. Does God thus hate sin? And shall we not hate it? Has our sin grieved him to the heart? And shall we not be grieved and pricked to the heart for it? O that this consideration may humble us and shame us, and that we may look on him whom we have thus grieved, and mourn! Zech. 12:10. 2. It does not imply any change of God’s mind; for he is in one mind, and who can turn him? With him there is not variableness. But it expressed a change of his way. When God had made man upright, he rested and was refreshed (Exod. 31:17), and his way towards him was such as showed he was pleased with the work of his own hands; but, now that man had apostatized, he could not do otherwise than show himself displeased; so that the change was in man, not in God. God repented that he had made man; but we never find him repenting that he redeemed man (though that was a work of much greater expense), because special and effectual grace is given to secure the great ends of redemption; so that those gifts and callings are without repentance, Rom. 11:29.
II. God’s resolution to destroy man for his wickedness, Gen. 6:7. Observe, 1. When God repented that he had made man, he resolved to destroy man. Thus those that truly repent of sin will resolve, in the strength of God’s grace, to mortify sin and to destroy it, and so to undo what they have done amiss. We do but mock God in saying that we are sorry for our sin, and that it grieves us to the heart, if we continue to indulge it. In vain do we pretend a change of our mind if we do not evidence it by a change of our way. 2. He resolves to destroy man. The original word is very significant: I will wipe off man from the earth (so some), as dirt or filth is wiped off from a place which should be clean, and is thrown to the dunghill, the proper place for it. See 2 Kgs. 21:13. Those that are the spots of the places they live in are justly wiped away by the judgments of God. I will blot out man from the earth (so others), as those lines which displease the author are blotted out a book, or as the name of a citizen is blotted out of the rolls of the freemen, when he is dead or disfranchised. 3. He speaks of man as his own creature even when he resolves upon his ruin: Man whom I have created. “Though I have created him, this shall not excuse him,” Isa. 27:11. He that made him will not save him; he that is our Creator, if he be not our ruler, will be our destroyer. Or, “Because I have created him, and he has been so undutiful and ungrateful to his Creator, therefore I will destroy him:” those forfeit their lives that do not answer the end of their living. 4. Even the brute-creatures were to be involved in this destruction—Beasts, and creeping things, and the fowls of the air. These were made for man, and therefore must be destroyed with man; for it follows: It repenteth me that I have made them; for the end of their creation also was frustrated. They were made that man might serve and honour God with them; and therefore were destroyed because he had served his lusts with them, and made them subject to vanity. 5. God took up this resolution concerning man after his Spirit had been long striving with him in vain. None are ruined by the justice of God but those that hate to be reformed by the grace of God.