Genesis 15:15 NAS95 (15) “As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.
The conversation with God started with Abram asking, “What will you give me?” God dealt with his concern about having an heir. Then told him you and your seed must drive the occupants off the land to possess it. Abram asked for a guarantee he would possess the land. God told him to set things up to make a covenant.
He waited all day for God’s arrival to make a covenant guaranteeing he will get the land, only to have God tell him you will die in peace before your family possesses the land. At this point, Abram must accept living a long, prosperous life and dying in peace. Future generations would live on the land and in the city built on foundations laid by his God of justice, but not him.
If I was Abram, I would be more than a little confused. God revealed his plan to Abram one step at a time. He did not know God would be the father of the promised seed. While Abram is processing this new information, God explained the delay.
Genesis 15:16 NAS95 (16) “Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”
God had a good reason for delaying the occupation. The iniquity of the current residents had not reached a level that justified evicting them from God’s property. God reserves the right to take what belongs to him away from those who hate him and give it to people who love and obey him.
God’s mercy was giving the current occupants time to repent, but his mercy had an expiration date. When Peter asked Jesus how many times we should forgive, Jesus never said as many times as they ask you too. He gave a specific number, seventy times seven, because mercy is not forgiveness. Forgiveness requires repentance. He gave Peter a substantial number to emphasize we must believe the best first and be longsuffering in our patience with people who wrong us.
The best thing we can do for someone is hold them accountable when they do wrong. My husband had a cash jar in the bedroom. He used the money to treat our sons to MacDonalds or a movie. He put $300 in the jar, from a side job, and we left to run an errand. Several hours later, we returned home, and my husband discovered the jar was empty.
We questioned our son about the missing money. While we were gone a friend of my sons came and waited while my son took a shower. The evidence was circumstantial, but it appeared the friend took the money while my son was in the shower. I called the police to report the theft.
My son tried to stop me. “You will get him in trouble,” he wailed.
“If he did it, he got himself in trouble when he took what did not belong to him,” I replied.
The police questioned us and my son’s friend. I assumed that was the end of the matter since nothing could be proved. Early the next morning, my son’s friend was at my front door clutching a handheld game system, snot running from his nose, and tears streaming down his face. He admitted he took the money and bought the game system. He handed the device to me to compensate for the theft.
I told him to keep the device. It was enough that he was sincerely sorry. But he insisted I take it. We sold the device for more than he paid for it and returned $350 to the cash jar. If I had not stood my ground, he would have continued to steal not only from us but others as well.
As long as there is hope for repentance, Abram must wait. Did God use Abram to give better things to others? Where is the equality in God’s plan? There is two ways Abram could enjoy the fruits of his obedience. Both options appeared impossible. He would have to live more than 400 years before he died in peace. Even if God extended his life span, he would still die one day and lose the blessings God promised to give him, because God promised to give him land on earth. What good would it do to inherit an eternal kingdom on earth that produced blessings instead of violence only to be robbed of that inheritance by death? God would have to conquer death and raise him to immortality to keep his promises to Abram and to Abram’s Seed.
Genesis 15:18 KJV In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates…
Abram’s guarantee that he will inherit the land is the covenant God made with Abram to give the land not to Abram but to one seed of Abram who will not sin against him. We call that man Jesus.