Lesson 24 w/AnswersAbram in Canaan

" 5He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. 6Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. 9Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev." Genesis 12:5-9 [NIV]


In this lesson, we continue our study of Abram’s trip from Harran down into the land of Canaan. As you will recall from the previous lesson, Abram is leading a sizeable group into Canaan, and among his family were Sarai and Lot. Considering "all the possessions they had accumulated," and the livestock, it would have been quite the trip! He would have been responsible for ensuring that there was adequate water and grazing land during the course of his following the path that God was leading him on. The text above records some of his stops as he traveled through Canaan from north to south all the way down to the Negev. This journey would have led him through the Judean highlands which parallel the Jordan river on one side and the Mediterranean on the other.

Shechem and the Great Tree of Moreh

One of the first landmarks identified is "the great tree of Moreh at Shechem." Located on what we know today as the West Bank area in central Israel, Shechem is sited in a pass between two mountains, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. Here, in the north central part of Canaan, which would eventually become the Holy Land, God makes Abram a great promise.

  1. What was this promise that God gave Abram?
    1. ANSWER: God promised to give the land of the Canaanites to the offspring of Abram.
  2. For Abram, what would have been the unusual nature of this promise? (See Genesis 11:30.)
    1. ANSWER: Sarai, Abram’s wife, was not only barren, but the Bible tells us that she was not able to conceive. God is promising Abram that, although his wife is unable to conceive, that the land is being given to his offspring.
  3. What was Abram’s response to this astonishing promise?
    1. ANSWER: Instead of questioning God, Abram builds an altar and worships God.

There is a great lesson here: when we follow God, it should be without question.

  1. What does Numbers 23:19 tell us about God and His promises?
    1. ANSWER: If God promises us something, we are to have the faith that God will fulfill that promise. Abram instinctively knew this and did not question God’s promise.
  2. Read Genesis 28:16-19 and note what else is significant about Shechem.
    1. ANSWER: This is where Jacob had his "ladder dream." In this passage, we also learn that the original name of Shechem was Luz. Jacob is the person who gave it the name Shechem.

As we will be able to observe throughout the lives of Abraham and his descendants, this promise, first made at Shechem, is a promise that they all believed—the fulfillment of which they looked forward to and did not question. We should have that same faith. God promised a savior, His only son Jesus, and we believe that without question. We believe that Jesus came, died, and rose again to atone for our sins, and we look forward to the day he returns again.

Shechem will be important to the descendants of Abraham.

  1. What is significant about Shechem in the following verses?
    1. Joshua 24:1-16
      1. ANSWER: Joshua, who is about to die, has gathered everyone at Shechem, Abram’s first stop, where Abram built an altar to the Lord. Joshua, hundreds of years later, reminds them of God’s faithfulness in giving Abraham’s offspring this land.
    2. Joshua 24:26-28
      1. ANSWER: At Shechem, Joshua reaffirms the Hebrew’s commitment to God and places a memorial stone in Shechem to commemorate it.
    3. Joshua 24:32
      1. ANSWER: Joseph, the last of the Patriarchs, is buried at Shechem.

From Shechem Abram travels to Bethel.

Bethel: The House of God

Bethel was located eleven miles north of Jerusalem, near Ai. It was a crossroads location where trade routes ran from Jericho to the Mediterranean Sea in the east-west direction, and they ran from Shechem to Hebron in the north-south direction.

  1. As described in Genesis 13:3-9, the locations of Bethel and Ai become a major decision point. What happened?
    1. ANSWER: Between Bethel and Ai is where Abram and Lot were standing and discussing how to divide up the pasture land. When Lot saw Sodom and the Jordan plain, he made a bad choice. He chose to head toward Sodom.

The Negev

From Bethel, Abram continued traveling south headed for the Negev, a semi-arid region in the southern end of Canaan.

  1. As recounted in Genesis 12:10, what happened when Abram arrived in the Negev with all of his family, servants and livestock?
    1. ANSWER: There was a famine. Abram saw that the land in the Negev at that time could not sustain him or his family, his livestock, nor his servants; so he headed further south and crossed into Egypt.

At first it may seem strange that Abram would head south into the Negev, already a semi-desert area, but we need to remember two things: (1) Abram had never traveled through the land of Canaan before and perhaps was unaware of the famine conditions there, and (2) God was leading him, so Abram went wherever God led him without question.

Just as Abram did, we should also be walking in faith, following God one day at a time. He was a man of faith who still demonstrates to us today what it means to have faith in God and to follow only Him.

Let’s challenge ourselves this week to seek out God and his leading in all that we do.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17 [NIV]

In the next lesson, Abram, his family, his servants, and his livestock enter Egypt.

Have a great week everyone!

In Christ,



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