And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Genesis 15:16 ESV
Many stumble over God because He waits so long to judge evil. Those who suffer at the hands of others cry out to God for deliverance. The pain is unbearable. The damage seems irreparable. The thought of it having no end seems unthinkable. They believe that God should have already done something because a good Father promises to protect His people. It’s difficult to explain God’s reasons for when and how he metes out justice. Who can know the mind of God!
Today’s scripture provides a context for long-standing evil. The 400 years of Jewish slavery in Egypt is foretold to Abram. God reveals that He will not bring them out of slavery until the iniquity of the Amorites is complete. The Amorites are the ones who possess Canaan, the Promised Land. Their heinous sins will grow slowly over the course of six generations. There will be a limit, however, to what God allows. When their iniquity reaches the heights of notoriety, God will strike through the warfare of His people coming against the giants of the land.
From this story, there are a couple of things I can conclude. 1. God does allow some evil to run a long course and His people are oppressed for a time. 2. He waits to judge because His heart is merciful, and He gives all mankind innumerable chances to hear His call and respond with repentance. 3. He allows evil to become blatant so that when He strikes, the message is clear about the consequences of sin. 4. With judgment, God’s power, justice, holiness, and glory are on full display.
As I look back on my own life, only in hindsight do I understand a little of why God restrained justice. While I waited, I learned about the nature of evil. The longer I suffered, the more wisdom became mine. When God moved, I could see that freedom came right on time. It was a knowing in my spirit even though many of my questions remained. The real test came in the waiting, in the middle of the pain and the unanswered questions. The test was whether I could say that God was good and was doing all things well, even though there was little visible evidence.
When you and I don’t understand His mind nor His seeming inactivity, we can know that He has good reasons for how He chooses to rule. In the end, heaven will reveal that God loved every one of us perfectly.
I pray right now for everyone who is suffering under the hand of evil. Increase their faith. Restore their trust. Resurrect their cries for deliverance. Oh Lord, judge the wicked and come to the aid of Your people. Amen