Abraham is the prototypical man of faith in the Old Testament scriptures. Can you imagine being 100 years old, without a child, and being promised that you will be the father of many nations? God had to force this point with him because Abraham would have settled for much less. Abraham would have settled for his line to be built through his wife’s servant, Hagar. The Lord, however takes Abraham outside and tells him to look up. . .
And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
(Genesis 15:5-6 ESV)
The blessings God had planned for Abraham, and for the whole world through Abraham were so great, the only earthly comparison would be to try and number the seemingly infinite legions of stars. Abraham believed God against all natural logic, and was justified before God for his faith.
Just a little farther down in the chapter, God tells Abraham about the fate of the nation that would spring from him. They would go down into Egypt and be mistreated for 400 years, and come out as a great nation with many possessions, on their way to inherit the land God had promised to them.
There is an interesting tag to this st0ry.
And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
(Genesis 15:16 ESV)
The Lord gives part of his reasoning for Israel’s 400 years in Egypt – that the Amorites (the people who at that time lived in the land promised to Israel) will be given 400 years to continue in their evil ways. Think about this another way. The Amorites are actually being given 400 years to repent! God will not pronounce judgement on them just yet, because he is patient. He gives chance after chance to those who spurn him.
Keep this in mind when you think of Israel’s conquest of Canaan. They were delivering God’s justice to the nations of Canaan, after a 400 year grace period. Let that tell us something about the patience and the justice of God. God because he is merciful is very patient toward sinners, but justice will be done. He grants opportunities to repent, but that will not always be the case.
If you do not have the obedient, trusting faith of Abraham, then the breath you have while you read this is a gift of patience from God, who gives you all the good things in life in order to lead you to repentance. But rest assured, one day we will all stand before him, and no one will have an excuse.
Faith is to believe God in a way that changes your life, and the blessings he has prepared for his faithful ones are more than can be counted or even imagined. If you are reading this, you are being called to choose. Believe like Abraham, or go on your way toward judgement like the Amorites. No one can ever say they weren’t given enough time.