The Lord revealed the future to Abraham saying, “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” (Genesis 15:13). This revelation made clear that Abraham and his descendants would be wanderers for four generations. But why did God delay the possession of Canaan and led the Israelites to Egypt:
1- The Lord wanted to protect the Israelites from the heathen influences of the Canaanites and gather them to a separate location away from pagan corruptions.
2- It would take time for Abraham’s seed to multiply to the point of being able to take over the country of Canaan. And the Land of Goshen in Egypt was the perfect fertile place (Genesis 45:18) where the Israelites can multiply, grow, and flourish in number (Genesis 47:6).
3- The Lord wanted to bless Isreaelites by giving them great possessions: “But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. . . ” (Genesis 15: 14-16). This promise was remarkably fulfilled in the miraculous deliverance of the Hebrews from bondage, and in the immense wealth they carried with them: “And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians” (Ex. 12:36).
4- The Lord waited because “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16). There is a fixed degree of iniquity beyond which nations may not go without inviting the judgments of God. The deep moral degeneration to which the Canaanites fell by the time of Moses is exhibited in their mythological literature. They describe their gods as blood-thirsty and cruel beings, killing and deceiving each other, and immoral beyond imagination. They sacrificed their children, worshiping serpents, and practicing wicked rituals in their temples. The Amorites stand for all the inhabitants of Canaan (Joshua 24:15; Judges 6:10; etc.). So, when their cup of inequity was full, the Amorites were destroyed as the Lord predicted (Numbers 21:31-32; Joshua 10:10; 11:8).
In His service,
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