Men and Accountability, Part 6

Six parts… you thought I was done with this Bible passage, didn’t you? Here’s another thing to glean from this passage of Scripture… from an event in the life of Moses and Joshua dealing with accountability and men. (see also Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5)

Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. (Exodus 17:10)

Have you ever thought about what mentoring is all about? It’s basically one person (the mentor) investing his life into another person (the protégé or learner). Some men have a natural drawing to another man, someone whose career, marriage, lifestyle or spiritual connection with God is so impressive or inspiring that other men just like being near them. Perhaps one can learn a few things through close proximity or through books, but this really is about relationships.

Mentoring is seldom a prearranged situation. Sure, you can get into an official program and actually mentor another person, but there is usually a time limitation or the relationship ends at some point. While mentoring is not a permanent relationship, it does continue. The ideal would have the protégé being mentored while he keeps his eyes open to the possibility of mentoring someone else.

“Joshua did as Moses told him” (Exodus 17:10). I sense that Moses and Joshua had such a close relationship that Joshua hungered to sit at Moses’ feet and learn what God wanted him to do. At this stage in their relationship, God spoke to Moses and then Moses would speak to the people. Today, we have direct access to God through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. No one gets to the Father except through Christ (John 14:6), but we must also understand that God will often speak through His servants, like a mentor. As a mentor seeks after God, his goal is to pass on what he learns and his experience to the next generation. Joshua was a protégé who knew what needed to be done. He understood the big picture and was obedient, perhaps unto death. There was no guarantee that Joshua would not lose his life during this battle with the Amalekites.

So who is Joshua anyway? His name means, “Yahweh delivered.” Joshua is one of the unsung heroes of the Old Testament. It was he, not Moses, who led the people of Israel into the Promised Land. He was a person of such stature that he could succeed the incomparable Moses and compile a record of notable success (Joshua 24:31). His name in the New Testament is equivalent to Jesus.

Joshua was born in Egypt during the period of slavery. He was a member of Ephraim, the important tribe that later formed the heart of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He first appeared in our current passage, during this battle with the Amalekites. He was Moses’ general, who led the troops in the actual fighting (Exodus 17:10, 14).

Joshua was also Moses’ servant (Exodus 24:13). He was on the mountain when Moses received the Law, or Ten Commandments (Exodus 32:16-17). He was also one of the twelve spies Moses sent to investigate Canaan (Numbers 13:8, 16). He and Caleb returned with a positive, minority report. Of all the adults alive at that time, only the two of them were allowed to live to enter the land of Canaan (Numbers 14:28-30, 38).

The Lord selected Joshua to be Moses’ successor long before Moses’ death (Numbers 27:15-23; Deuteronomy 31:14-15, 23; 34:9). Joshua was a military leader, a political leader, and a spiritual leader. He was quiet and unassuming, but he was not afraid of his responsibilities or the task that lay before him. He was a battlefield genius, particularly in the areas of careful planning, strategy, and execution. He was a capable administrator for the nation, effective in maintaining harmony among people and groups. He was a spokesman to the people for the Lord. Though he did not receive the Law as Moses had, he communicated the Lord’s will and the Lord’s message much like Moses (Joshua 24:2, 14, 15).

Joshua was leading the nation during the conquest and the distribution and settlement of Canaan. He led in the covenant renewal at mount Ebal and Shechem (Joshua 8:30-35; 24:1-28). He was able to challenge his people by both word and example. He set a pattern that is hard to live up to. Moses had guided (or mentored) Joshua to be the effective leader he had become.

The goal of the mentor is for the protégé to become greater than oneself, to pass on knowledge and experience so that one day the protégé will succeed in life. We see this in Joshua because Moses invested himself into Joshua, and God was able to take that and use him for greater glory. Who do you see as a mentor, and when are you going to formally step into that relationship for the greater good of your marriage, family and spiritual life?

Join us this Saturday at 7:30 in the Welcome Center. Then we can go visit a man of steel in Virginia Beach General.

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