Chapter Three Appendix: The Meaning of Canaan; Isaiah 41

Why did God take Abram from Ur of the Chaldees, a place of idol worship, to Canaan, another place of idol worship? Perhaps this is the point: we can never escape from the world; we can only strive to be where the Lord would have us, for in that place will his plan for our lives be fulfilled.

Canaan was the enemy’s territory. When Israel went up from Egypt, the people were required to conquer the idol worshippers in order to lay claim to this land. This pictures that God’s will is for the Christian to aggressively stand against the enemy. Israel’s enemies were nations who served Satan; ours are attitudes and sinful ways that must be stopped. “We have met the enemy and he is us,” as the saying goes.

In Scripture Canaan is introduced alongside Noah’s sons: “The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japeth. Ham was the father of Canaan.” (Genesis 9:18) Again, Canaan is cited after we learn that Noah planted a vineyard, drank some of its wine, became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent: “Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his brothers outside.” (Genesis 9:22)

When Noah awoke from his stupor to discover Ham’s deed (which is not fully explained), he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” (ibid, vs 25) And in succeeding passages, Noah prophesies that Canaan will be the slave of both Shem and Japeth. Probably, Canaan is singled out because he was Ham’s firstborn though pronounced fourth as his “least” (Genesis 10:60). This prophecy underscores that the sins of parents have strong effects upon their children’s lives. Yet, in Christ these effects will be countered.


We should pay attention to this Genesis lesson: Do not assist the Devil when he mocks the righteous person who has erred, as Ham mocked Noah. The first verse of the first Psalm underlines this instruction: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of mockers.” The mocker is proud, but he will be humiliated. The root word of Canaan means “be subdued, brought low, into subjection.”

If we harbor wrong attitudes and behaviors, then we must also be subdued, though not in a slavish way. Satan has slaves, but God has children. Yet as those belonging to him, we must be brought into subjection, as Paul wrote in Philippians, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8)

Canaan land is a glorious place, a place of full submission to the Lord. The meaning of the word foretells the destiny of all true Christians. And as we subject our will to his, let us do so in the Spirit, not grudgingly. Let there be no need to bring us into subjection by harsh measures, as on a road to Damascus. We should not kick against the goads. (Acts 26:14)

God’s promises to Abram were the ground of his covenant with him. An explanation is found in Isaiah 41:1-4 for God’s selection of Abraham. The explanation is: It was his pleasure and plan. By reading the entire 41st chapter of Isaiah, you will find many more than seven promises, and you can find yourself as the one of the recipients.

Isaiah 41:1-4, 8-13
1. Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment. 2. Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow. 3. He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet. 4. Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. ...
8. But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. 9. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. 10. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 11. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. 12. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. 13. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee...”

Journeying into Canaan
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Journeying to Canaan

KEY VERSE: Genesis 19:29 "So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived."

Introduction

About

Chapter One

What About Lot?
Further Study

Chapter Two

A Type of Christian
Further Study

Chapter Three

Westward Ho!
Further Study

Chapter Four

Time for Worship
Further Study

Chapter Five

Severing Ties
Further Study

Chapter Six

The Rescue
Further Study

Chapter Seven

The Promise Sealed
Further Study

Chapter Eight

Nearer to God
Further Study

Chapter Nine

The Covenant
Further Study

Chapter Ten

To Whom Much Is Given
Further Study

Chapter Eleven

God Remembered Abraham
Further Study

Chapter Twelve

A Good Ending
Further Study

Afterword

He Draws the Unwilling