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Monday, November 16, 2015

Working Toward Completion

In the covenant that God made with Abraham (Gen 15), there were some remarkable promises. Abraham would have a son in his old age. His children would number like the stars. God would give him a land which was huge. Mixed in among this wonderful stuff is a strange little part.
Then the LORD said to Abram, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." (Gen 15:13-16)
In among all these wonderful things that God promised Abraham is this little promise ... of slavery. Yes, 400 years of it. "Oh, don't worry," God seems to say, "I'll judge the nation that does it." Like that makes it better. "You'll come out rich." Yeah, okay ... but 400 years of slavery!

Perhaps more disturbing, at least to me, is God's explanation. "The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." So, God was going to put Israel on ice for 400 years because the people that occupied the land that God was going to give them were not yet wicked enough. Oh, they would be, but just not yet. They hadn't completed their drive toward wickedness. And Israel wasn't going into their Promised Land as conquerors as much as God's rod of discipline.

That phrase gives me chills. "The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." Sure, it was some time. It was from Abraham's time through Isaac and Jacob and past Jacob's sons' days. Then another 400 years. But it makes me wonder. When is the iniquity of America complete? And who or what will God use to carry out His judgment then? Because you can be quite sure that He is a just God and will certainly judge a nation who is working toward making Sodom and Gomorrah look like saints.


Bob said...

i was just thinking about the concept of repentance. and i noted that true repentance is a gift of God. the Amorites were given over to their sin, until they were at full measure. this is a very scary execution of God's judgement. it helps me to understand the utter dependence i have to For God's mercy, that he may give me not only the capacity to believe, but also the power to repent, that i may not sin against Him.

Stan said...

The ... I'm not sure of the right term -- disturbing? ... part to me is that, while we know that all of us will be judged in the end and we believers have nothing to worry about there, nations are not subject to the same timeline. God's judgment of nations is temporal and could happen whenever He wishes. Indeed, in the biblical accounts He used Babylon to judge Israel and then judged Babylon for doing so. There is no reason He couldn't use another nation to judge the U.S. and no reason why He would hold off doing so. Christians are not ripening for judgment from God ... but, just like Jeremiah and others, we could certainly be present when God judges their sinful nation working on filling up their evil. It might get ... uncomfortable.

Craig said...

Of course the text that you are basing this on is all just a myth anyway. Obviously it's a metaphor for something else.

Stan said...

They'd like to think that.