The Berean Expositor
Volume 12 - Page 70 of 160
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How did it come about that Israel became such abject slaves? There is a threefold
answer to the question, viz., (1) The Purpose of God:--
"Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them: and they
shall afflict them" (Gen. 15: 13).
(2) The Fulness of Iniquity. Their entrance into the land of Canaan was delayed in
mercy to the wicked inhabitants:--
"In the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites
is not yet full" (Gen. 15: 16).
and (3) The Punishment of Sin. The bondage of Israel was connected with their own
failure. They became idolatrous and like the Egyptians themselves (Lev. 17: 7;
Josh. 24: 14; Ezek. 20: 5-9).
Possibly some readers will not be fully alive to the fact that God visited Israel with
judgment in Egypt before He delivered them, and therefore we will quote the passage
from Ezek. 20: referred to above:--
"In the day that I lifted up Mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of
Egypt . . . . . Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his
eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. But
they rebelled against Me . . . . . in the midst of the land of Egypt."
Israel sets forth in miniature the dealings of God with mankind. First there is the great
purpose of the ages, that necessarily accounts for much that is mysterious and strange in
God's providential dealings.  It would have seemed more reasonable, seeing that
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were already settled in the land of promise, that the promises
upon which their faith rested should be put into immediate operation. As it was, these
men were pilgrims and strangers in the very land of promise, and the only portion that
actually belonged to Abraham was a piece he paid for in which to bury Sarah.
Secondly, the relation which Scripture shows existed between the exile of Israel and
the iniquity of the Amorites reveals another phase of God's dispensational dealings. The
same truth is uttered in the epistle to the Romans:--
"Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in,
and so all Israel be saved . . . . ." (Rom. 11: 25, 26).
Adam's fall, Job's sufferings, the Church's period of suffering and persecution, all
speak of the same long waiting for the heading up of Sin, as set forth finally at Babylon
(Rev. 13:, 17:, 18:, etc.).
Thirdly, Israel became idolators in Egypt.  Their bondage followed upon their
departure from God. So with the larger issue. Man's present condition of bondage is a
part of the Divine Plan. It must continue his condition until iniquity has filled its
measure. It continues also because man is personally sinful and amenable to wrath. The