“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure’” (Genesis 15:13-16).
This text was fulfilled in the time of Joshua. It also gives us a reason for the conquest of Canaan by Joshua. The sin of the Amorites had now reached its full measure.
“After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, ‘The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.’ No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Deuteronomy 9:4-5).
This is reiterated as God’s reason for war all of the way through the Old Testament. When Israel was overrun many times during the period of the judges and later by the Assyrians and the Babylonians, it was because of Israel’s sin of forsaking God, turning to other gods and many immoralities. God used unholy, pagan nations to discipline Israel. These unholy, pagan nations were in turn destroyed (not chastened) because of their sin. Israel repented after the discipline. Nineveh repented before and prevented their own destruction.
Written February 1991.
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