Opposition In The Promised Land – Part 1

by Freedom Fight | April 23, 2024

Where is freedom?

“Why does this keep happening? Am I doing something wrong? Am I really a believer? Do I not have enough faith? Why am I still addicted to pornography? 

I’m crying out to God for help, so where is He?”

If you’ve ever found yourself asking these questions, you’re not alone. These are questions we hear all the time at the Freedom Fight. In fact, they’re questions we’ve probably all asked ourselves at some point. It may sound strange to say, but if you’re asking yourself any of those questions, it’s actually a sign that God is at work in your life.

“What?” you ask. “I feel like I can’t get past this, and you’re telling me God has a hand in it somehow?”

Yes, but maybe not in the way you expect. 

The reason you are asking those questions is because you recognize a conflict.  You sense and feel the weight of opposition. Good. God is at work through it. God is the one helping you feel that tension. It’s the Holy Spirit helping you see something is off. Pay attention, and be prepared for the lessons to be learned. 

A Lesson Relearned

Joshua certainly dealt with this as he was leading God’s people into the promised land. God assured him from the beginning, “I will give you every place where you set your foot” (Joshua 1:3). Have you ever considered why he would follow this promise up with “Be strong and courageous”? If God made the promise, what is there to be afraid of?  And why would God then warn him to obey, and not turn from His commands to the right or to the left?  

God certainly promised His people, but His oath to victory was not without their involvement. The stage was set, and He graciously invited them into the process. He gave them responsibility. The tension is that often we want the promises of God while at the same time rejecting our role in that process. We want freedom, but we are unwilling to fight for it.

It’s interesting to note that things started off really well for Joshua and the Israelites. God gave instructions. Instructions were followed. Land was taken.  Rahab believes and is saved. The Jordan River is crossed. The walls of Jericho fall down. And then trouble. So what happened? Why all the success and then sudden failure. You see, Joshua had given them specific instructions after the victory at Jericho.  Sadly, a man named Achan did not listen.  He turned to the right or to the left. Opposition followed. Consequences followed. Death followed.

Now Joshua’s first response to this devastation seemed to be good.  He prays a prayer, including some of his own questions.  He asks God, “Why?” And he also asks God “What then will you do for your own great name (Joshua 7:9)?” He recognizes that there is, in fact, opposition, and even goes to God in prayer. But just because it’s spiritual doesn’t make it right. God’s response certainly gives the indication that He was not at all pleased with Joshua’s actions.  Look at what He tells Joshua.

“The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Stand up! What are you doing down on your face (Joshua 7:10)?”

Stand up!? God is literally telling him to get up. Why does God want him to stop?  Wasn’t he doing the right thing? Well, according to God, no! It wasn’t time to be on his face. It was time to deal with sin. God then reminds Joshua of the very instructions that Joshua himself had told them at Jericho’s victory (Joshua 6:18-19). 

Joshua’s opposition was not only that there was sin in the camp. It was also his inability to recognize it. Now what I love about Joshua is his response to this. He welcomes the correction from God. He sees it, and he acts accordingly. And even though to deal with the sin means more death and consequences, he proves to be strong and courageous. He chooses not to turn to the right or to the left.

After Joshua died, Israel is still in the process of settling the Promised Land. But as their sin grew so did their opposition. But notice that God is going to use the opposition for a greater purpose. 

“Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before (Judges 3:1-2).

The people’s sin kept them from experiencing the fullness of all that God promised. But God was going to use the process of laying hold of the promise to teach them to fight and rely on Him. 

The Invitation Of Freedom

Jesus promises us in John 8:32 that “the truth will set you free.” So has it? And if not, why not? Is God a liar? There really are only two possible answers to that very honest question. One, you can say Jesus is a liar. That’s an option. Or two, you can confess He is who He says He is, and embrace the conflict of why you are experiencing opposition instead of the promised land of freedom.  

We must pay attention to how Jesus begins that statement from John.  He says in verse 31, “If you hold to my teaching.” Do you see the repeated theme between this, and God and Joshua? God told Joshua to keep the law and be careful to do everything written in it, and “then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). 

Jesus is telling the truth. Holding to His teaching, and keeping His commands will most certainly set you free. God has done his part. The hardest question to ask now is, “Am I doing mine?” That’s difficult because if there is a lack of freedom, the fault does not lie with God. The opposition is that we must come face to face with our sin, or our failure to recognize it. The conflict comes because often that is the very thing we do not want to take responsibility for.

The Path to Freedom

But take heart. Joshua’s example teaches us that we can most certainly have courage to face sin. We can be strong and cling to His commands. With God’s help, we can live in such a way to not turn to the right or to the left. 

And while every path to freedom may look different, one common denominator remains for them all: embracing God’s promises of victory, and also our own responsibility in obtaining it. As we saw, even when Israel repented God didn’t give them instant deliverance. He used the process of fighting to build their faith and train them for war. God uses the opposition in our life to make us more like Christ. God can and sometimes does give miraculous deliverance from a porn or sex addiction, but the vast majority do not just quit a porn addiction, they must outgrow it. This is done by growing and developing in key areas of their life that address the roots of their addiction. To outgrow porn we must grow in our holiness, renewing our mind, walking in the light with accountability and living out of our identity in Christ, to name a few.   

Freedom is found in the beautiful mystery of faith in God and fighting to take hold of the ground He’s promised. And In the same way Joshua found victory, we can as well.

If you need help quitting porn check out the 30 Day Challenge as a place to start. It’s free!


Published: April 23, 2024  |   Spiritual Health The Freedom Fight
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