It’s generally believed among Christians that due to negligence of Abram, in offering the sacrifice, in which he did not cut off the birds in two pieces each, and made a mistake, the Israelite were stricken by slavery for 400 years and discriminated by the Egyptians. But it is not. It was the plan of God to take the Israelite through afflictions to inherit the land of Canaan. In Genesis Chapter 15, we read… ‘And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him” (Gen.15: 11-12). And, thereby the curse he earned: His seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years (Gen.15: 13).
Let’s see the wisdom of God here:
Abram was the Child of God, and he did not have a son through his wife Sarah, and he asked God for a child. (Gen. 15.2). God Promised him that his seed shall be like the stars in heaven which where innumerable. Abram believed and God counted it as righteous to him. Abram further asked for a proof (Gen. 15.8). God loved Abram and God asked him to bring 3 animals and 2 birds to offer as sacrifice. Abram divided the animals in to two and kept on the altar, but the birds he did not divide (Gen. 15: 9-10).
This was Abram’s 5th sacrifice offering to God. The 1st was in Moreh (Gen 12:6-7); the 2nd was between Ai and Bethel (Gen 12:8); 3rd was again in Moreh (Gen 13:4); and the 4th was in the plain of Mamre in Hebron (Gen 13:18). Before knowing God, he might have offered many sacrifices to heathen gods. Hence offering animals was not new to Abram, and he offered during the dispensation of conscience period, before Law of Moses came into existence.
The Law of Moses, states to cleave the birds with its wings but not divide asunder. Abram literally did the same and did no error in it (Lev.1:17).
Coming back to our subject, after Abram offered the sacrifice, strange things happened, and God gave the explanation. These shouldn’t be taken as a curse, but the plan of God (v 11:14).
The fowls came down upon the car-cases, when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him. God revealed the future events as surely that Abram’s seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and God will judge: them and deliver his seed and they shall come out with great substance.
Let’s understand these… (Gen.15, 16) God blessed Abram. If he made mistakes in offering sacrifices, how God will bless him? Moses made a mistake and God punished him by not permitting him to enter Canaan. Miriam made a mistake and God punished her and she became a leper for a certain period. Aaron made a mistake and God did not permit him to enter Canaan. But God blessed Abram with long life and peaceful end.
(Gen. 15:17) God accepted Abram’s sacrifices as when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. Will God accept his sacrifice when he made a mistake in the sacrifice? (Gen. 15: 18) God 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: Will God make a covenant with Abram on the same day when he made a mistake and brought a curse upon him? (Gen.15:16) In the fourth generation the seed of Abram shall come to Canaan for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
Now let us understand that whether it is curse of God or fore-plan of God? Also if God did not fore plan affliction by Pharaoh who knew not Joseph, (As eagle pulls out its own nest) and if the Israelite were well to do and peaceful in Egypt, will they come out from Egypt to Canaan when Moses went and called them? And God made the Israelite to come out with great substance. Is it not for building Tabernacle of Congregation in the wilderness, and a loot for them from the Egyptians against their ill treatment and poorly paid by them?
Abram asked for a child, and God revealed him about his fore-plan of Abram’s seed and made a covenant with him to give the land of Canaan as inheritance to his seed. So, it was neither mistake of Abram nor curse of God, but a “Preplan of God concerning his seed”.