The LORD always has a reason for everything He does. He never does anything without cause. He does not always make known the reason for His actions, but sometimes he does, as here. Nothing is left of His good work on earth. Any hope of improvement is a thing of the past. If He now looks at the earth, there is pain in his heart (cf. Psa 95:1010“For forty years I loathed [that] generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
; Isa 43:2424“You have bought Me not sweet cane with money,
Nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices;
Rather you have burdened Me with your sins,
You have wearied Me with your iniquities.
). Is this the man whom He created so well? Is this the man to whom He did not retain, even after the Fall, His favors?
The great wickedness of the people is not only evident from the horrible sin of mixing their daughters with fallen angels, but is also evident from the lives of the decent people. The Lord Jesus speaks of life “in the days of Noah” and says of the lives of men in those days: “They were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage” (Lk 17:26-2726And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:27they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.). These are the ordinary things of life. But in the days of Noah, life consisted of that. God was not thought of. That kind of life also makes the wickedness of people great and is the reason for the flood.
When the LORD sees this, He is sorry, or He repents, that he made man. God’s faithfulness never has to do with acknowledging a wrong deed. God never does anything wrong. His repentance indicates His feelings when He sees what man does with everything He has given him. He mourns about it. The element of regret about wrongdoing is not present here. If God repents something, it means that in His government He comes back to something He intends to do, but changes it, when He sees people behaving differently than He may expect.
The same we see with Saul, of whom God also says that He repents that He has made him king (1Sam 15:11a,3511“I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands.” And Samuel was distressed and cried out to the LORD all night.35Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death; for Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel., Darby translation). The other sense of repentance, that it would have been wrong of God to make him king, that He was mistaken, is not possible with God. Of him is true: “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind [or: repent]; for He is not a man that He should change His mind [or: repent]” (1Sam 15:2929Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”; cf. Rom 11:2929for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.; Num 23:1919“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
; Mal 3:66“For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.). God can repent in the sense that He returns to an intention to bless or punish man if the ways of man give cause to do so.
A clear example of this can be found in Jeremiah 18: “At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy [it]; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent [or: will repent, Darby translation] concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant [it]; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better [or: will repent, Darby translation] of the good with which I had promised to bless it” (Jer 18:7-107At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy [it];8if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.9Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant [it];10if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it.).
Repentance on the basis of a mistake is impossible, because God does not make mistakes. The repentance of God referred to here, shows that man is not a puppet and God is not an unrelenting God. This does not affect the fact that God is omniscient and sovereign. He is too. It does show how much God is involved with man. Even so that at some point He says: “I am become weary of repenting” (Jer 15:66“You who have forsaken Me,” declares the LORD,
“You keep going backward.
So I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you;
I am tired of relenting!
, Darby translation). God gives people so many opportunities, every time they repent He postpones the judgment, but every time they corrupt it.
Finally, He can no longer postpone the judgement. This is evident here with Noah, although He still gives man a certain time to repent. He used the preaching of Noah, who is called “a preacher of righteousness” (2Pet 2:55and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;).
Even the senseless animals are included in the announced judgment. They are made for man to serve and honor God together with him, but because of man’s sin they no longer meet the purpose of their creation.