You discipline a child knowing that the discipline is right. The child pushes away, even runs away in anger and rebellion. As a parent you regret the discipline because of what it caused. At the same time you find no regret in the discipline for it was from a heart of kindness and justified in love.
Here’s the paradox – God repents (regrets), yet he does nothing wrong that He should repent of anything.
1 Samuel 15:11 “I regret that I have made Saul king,”
Number 23:19 “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?”
Genesis 6:6 “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”
The Lord made a world that was good, a people in His image. It pleased Him in his heart. His holiness commanded obedience, yet his creation rebelled for something unholy and unworthy. The judgment was severe, fallen man. The punishment was death, spiritual death. In their rebellion they fell worse and worse and further into sin against their Maker.
Not many years later, God regretted that He had made man on the earth. How? Can God repent if He does no wrong? God is able to love righteousness and hate sin in such a way that He regrets without regretting at all. He regrets the hurting in people, the death that sin brought, the condition of man without God, and the just judgment He MUST bring upon them. Yet in the midst of this He regrets nothing. Crazy huh? He is not like man who repents when he is made aware of an error. No deed or action of God is without perfect forethought or flawless planning. He has NO errors. Everything He does is known by Him from eternity, and everything He chooses is perfectly justified within Himself.
There is no contradiction here. This is a beautiful reality that we must know about our God. Not know as in perfectly understand it, but know it as in accept it. He perfectly loves and perfectly hates. He never changes and He changes things. He finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked, yet He is pleased in His righteous judgments.
This is our great God. Know Him and love Him as He has revealed Himself. Worship this paradoxical God who made you and gave you breath. Praise the one who both judges the wicked in righteousness and justifies the sinner through grace.
Here is the greatest truth of all – It pleased the Lord to crush His own Son, so that the unrighteous would be made righteous in Him. It grieved the Lord to see Him crushed under such weight, for no one deserved it least.