Let’s begin our journey by looking at Moses and Joshua in the book of Exodus. Both men are well known for their achievements and connections with God in the Old Testament. They also exhibit a very good example of mentorship. While neither Moses nor Joshua would likely have ever referred to themselves as a mentor or mentee, they definitely showed this kind of relationship, which aided both of them numerous times.
“Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out. Fight against Amalek. Tomorrow, I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek. So when it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hands down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus, his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that it will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek under Heaven.’ (Exodus 17:8-14)
There are two examples of mentorship in this story of Moses and Joshua. In the first, Moses told Joshua to lead the battle against the Amaleks. At this time, Joshua had not yet made a name for himself on his own, and Moses did one of the most important jobs of a mentor. He put his trust in Joshua. Although Moses still made the decisions, he showed Joshua that he believed the younger man was capable of leading the group of soldiers.
In the second example, the Lord told Moses to continue working as a mentor to Joshua. He explained to Moses how the whole battle could be used to show Joshua how much strength the Lord actually had. Even though Joshua proved himself capable of leadership on his own (he led a whole army after all), he still needed mentorship, just as all people can learn from someone else.
These are not the only accounts in the scripture that shows mentorship between Moses and Joshua.
Speaking with God
There is another example when Moses actually mentored Joshua through a “lead by example” process. When Moses when to speak with the Lord, he brought Joshua with him:
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction,’ So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God.” (Exodus 24:12-13)
Many people know the story of the Ten Commandments – Moses went on the mountain and God wrote the commandments with His own hand. However, many people don’t realize that Joshua was actually with Moses. At the time, Joshua was nothing more than an assistant, but he was brought along in an extremely important trip.
Becoming a Leader
Throughout the book of Exodus, Moses continues to lead and mentor Joshua. Finally, in the book of Numbers, Moses must pass his leadership role over to someone else. That person was Joshua.
“So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him to their presence. Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him.’” (Numbers 27:18-20)
Joshua began as just a soldier. However, when he was taken under the mentorship of Moses, he rose to leadership status and he had power over the whole Israelite tribe. This shows just how powerful and capable mentorship can be for the mentee.
Finally, in the first verses of the book of Joshua, after Moses has passed away, the Lord appoints Joshua as the leader of the Israelite tribe. He tells Joshua to walk in the land and everywhere his feet touch will be his. The Lord also tells Joshua that he will lead with the strength of God at his side.
Mentorship is extremely powerful, and this first example from the Bible shows this well. The Lord may have chosen Moses and Joshua, but Moses did a good job of obeying and working as an excellent teacher for Joshua. He displayed several key characteristics of a good mentor:
- He began assigning important tasks to Joshua.
- He used the performance of Joshua as a reason to continue building on trust.
- He invited Joshua to key events and led by example.
- He affirmed the achievements of Joshua in front of others.
- He knew when to step aside and let Joshua take the role of leader.
By acting in this way, Moses exhibited how a mentor should act and how those actions can have a dramatic impact on the person being mentored. Moses exhibited clear-cut characteristics that we expect to see in mentoring even though he likely never thought of himself as a mentor. Later, in subsequent articles, we will even discuss how Moses himself had a mentor throughout his role as leader.
Continue this series and get the next article where we will look at some more scriptures that exhibit Biblical principles on mentorship.
Know that I am sending you the best that God has to offer you and I will see you up, up, and over the top.