The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart (Genesis 6:5-6 NLT).
“It broke his heart.” When I read those words, I confess I was shocked. I guess I was primed to read something like, “It made him furious.” So, I went to the Hebrew to check if the New Living Translation translators had been a little loose. But no, they got it exactly right. The noun is indeed “heart” and the dictionary says the verb means “to hurt, to pain, to grieve,” and the form used in this verse suggests doing something again and again. So “broke his heart” catches the point precisely.
What is that point? We can hurt God! Does our sin anger Him? Of course. There are plenty of places in the Bible where we are told that. And well it should. He made us for something better than this! But this passage tells us something deeper about God. He made us for love! He made us to walk with Him in unbroken, fruitful fellowship. But we have turned and slapped Him in the face, and He is heart-broken.
This phrase tells us about a God who cares, a God who is fully personal. Could The Force in the “Star Wars” movies ever be heart-broken? Of course not! But Yahweh is not The Force! If we ever doubted that, just look at Jesus mournfully asking if the Twelve are going to desert Him like everyone else had. That is God speaking!
But there is another side to this thought: if we can break His heart, we can also delight Him. Think of that! When you gladly say yes to His invitation to walk with Him and to walk as He walks, in love, can you feel His arm around your shoulder and see His smile? When the road gets steep, and you’re out of breath and your calves ache but you hang on to His hand and keep pushing, do you feel the joy pulsing through that strong hand. Oh, brothers and sisters, let’s make His heart glad.