Journey Through The Scriptures

Places in the Heart

Lesson 1: Israel's Promised Land

(Scripture to Read: Genesis 11:31–12:7; Joshua 23:1–11)

The name "Canaan" gained its importance in Israel's history at the very beginning, God's call to Abram to leave his home in Ur and set out for the land God promised to give him. Canaan was a son of Ham (Genesis 10:6) and a grandson of Noah, and the land where his descendants settled became known by his name. According to Joshua, the land Israel was to inherit included all the area from the Jordan River west to the Mediterranean Sea. God had told Abram that He would give him all the land as far as he could see in any direction (Genesis 13:14-15).

The Bible is clear that the Canaanites were idolaters who needed to be dispossessed as the Israelites entered after the exodus from Egypt and conquered the territory. And because God repeated His promise of this special land to each generation of leaders, Canaan became known as the "Promised Land," a title that is still valid today. In Christian theology, Canaan has also become a popular symbol of God's promise of blessing for His people.

Study Questions

  1. God commanded Abram to leave Ur and go to Canaan. Why do you think God uprooted Abram instead of blessing him in Ur?
  2. Abram was seventy-five years old at the time – an age when few people are asked to tackle such a challenge. How do we know that neither Abram's age nor his lack of knowledge about Canaan deterred him?
  3. Many years later, what proof did Joshua offer to the people of Israel that God would help them take possession of Canaan, the Promised Land?
  4. Why did Joshua warn the Israelites not to become entangled with the nations around them as they moved ahead to take possession of Canaan?

Something to Think About

All of us have a "Canaan" in our lives – a challenge to be accepted and overcome by faith. Pray for the strength to face this challenge, and thank God for the ability to meet it.

The key is what Joshua told the Israelites: "Hold fast to the Lord your God" (v. 8) – good advice for us!

Keep your faith strong through reading the Bible daily and committing to a time of focused prayer.