December 18, 2010

Homily on the Obedience of Joshua the Son of Nun

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left … be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" (Joshua 1:7, 9).

Joshua the son of Nun obeyed the Lord in everything to the end, not turning either to the right or to the left of the Lord's commandments. He was surrounded by great horrors and fears while leading the people through an unknown land and through thick ranks of enemies, but he was neither afraid nor dismayed. He considered himself the weapon of God, and knew that his battles were God's battles.

As a faithful soldier obeys the commands of his commander, so Joshua listened for and hearkened to the will of the Living God. He did not ascribe any good thing, any power, any merit to himself, but he ascribed all to God and only to God. He did not depend in the least on his own army, his own weapons and his own wisdom, but he depended on God and only on God, the Almighty and All-wise.

See, brethren, with what sort of men God walks. Oh, if only Christian rulers and commanders could see this and learn from God's servant Joshua how to serve God! Oh, if they would understand, once and for all, that the people are best served when God is served; and that the people cannot be served if God is not served!

The Lord God fulfilled His promise and was with Joshua the son of Nun to the end of his labors and life. And that the Lord was with him is shown by the great and awesome miracles that He manifested through His faithful servant. God divided the river Jordan so that the people crossed over on dry land without a bridge; God made the walls of Jericho fall at the sound of the trumpet; God delivered powerful enemies into the hands of the Israelites; God caused the sun to stand still over Gibeon and the moon to stand still over the valley of Ajalon. Truly, never and nowhere did God forsake His servant Joshua, for Joshua did not leave unfulfilled a single commandment of God.

A witness of the Living God and a type of the Savior of the world, when he was old and stricken in years, he instructed his people as God had taught him in the beginning: "Turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left … but cleave unto the Lord your God" (Joshua 23:6, 8).

O Lord Jesus, Son of God, Who showed most glorious wonders through Joshua, the son of Nun, Thy faithful servant. Strengthen and encourage us that we not turn away from Thee, either to the right or to the left, for the sake of Thy glory and our salvation. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.