Who do you think is responsible for the victories in your life? And what is happening when there are defeats?

Joshua came to the end of a long, fruitful life as the faithful understudy to Moses and then leader of the conquest of the Promised Land. His most important address to the people is recorded in Joshua 23–24.

After 40 years of battles and deliverance, Joshua recounted all that had happened. It’s telling that he didn’t praise the people for their great battle plans or military expertise. Instead, he reminded them of the only way the victories had been won:

You have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the LORD your God is He who has been fighting for you (23:3 NASB).

The LORD your God, He will thrust them out from before you and drive them from before you; and you will possess their land, just as the LORD your God promised you (v. 5).

Cling to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day. For the LORD has driven out great and strong nations from before you; and as for you, no man has stood before you to this day. One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you (vv. 8-10).

If you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations … know with certainty that the LORD your God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you (vv. 12-13).

Pretty obvious, right? In our pride, we all want to take credit.

But Joshua was wise enough to know (because he had seen both sides of this equation) that without God’s direction and help, there would have been no victories. Just look at the battle with a small town called Ai to see what happens when the Lord does not fight for His people.

What is the application for us?

Personally

You are helpless without the intervention of God through your humble dependence on His Spirit. You may think you can win, but without His help the enemies you face will devour you.

In fact, some of your failures right now are the result of your lack of dependence on “the Lord your God.” The minute you forget this is the beginning of your downfall.

This is true for an individual, a family, a church, a ministry . . .

Nationally

We (the United States) think we are so powerful. We boast in our might and the strength of our military, economic, and political power. We swell in seeming invincibility.

But without God, our might can be destroyed by the smallest nation in a single moment. Cuba could destroy us, for instance. You might laugh at the thought, but you will not be scoffing in the future if we do not repent.

Pharaoh thought he was unconquerable, but God cast the greatest military force of the world into the sea right before his eyes.

God has not changed. His eyes “move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9). He longs to help those who will fully love and trust Him and give Him all the glory.

But remember this sober warning from a general who had seen it all: Without His intervention, we are utterly defenseless against our foes.