Modeling Produces What Is Modeled



A long time ago I learned that I might try to teach my children and others a great many things. If I was fortunate they might actually learn some of the things I taught, but I could guarantee they would nearly always learn things they “caught” from me. It was what I was doing, saying, and modeling that really had the greatest impact and that was especially true when my words and behaviors did not match. They would be more likely to “catch” my behaviors even if I would have wished otherwise.


As I have been walking through Nehemiah with you the past several weeks, it has been clear that Nehemiah was demonstrating excellent evidences of leadership, godly leadership. Up until now, we have identified six qualities:


  • A godly leader prays
  • A godly leader acts
  • A godly leader faces opposition
  • A godly leader cares
  • A godly leader turns people to God’s Word
  • A godly leader confesses sins


It has also been clear that time and again Nehemiah’s choices and behaviors, his attitude and his strategies were consistent as evident of his godly character.


As we observe those in leadership over us in any and all arenas, we will discover if they live out what they would ask us to be and do. Their words and rhetoric may woo us and persuade us to follow them; but if we do that the inspiration they elicit will begin to fade when we do not detect those same principles lived out.


Modeling matters.IMG_2272


Throughout the book of Nehemiah we have noted how well he has modeled the life of not only a godly leader, but first of all a godly person. By the time we near the end of the story and the people have confessed their sins, we see another aspect of godly leadership.


At the start of the story Nehemiah demonstrated a commitment to follow what he knew was significant as a godly man. He knew Jerusalem needed to be rebuilt so the exiles living there could be protected and be reminded of who they were and whose they were. From the time he arrived in Jerusalem, his commitment was on display for all to see. It was there when he assessed the condition of the walls and gates. It was there when he came up with a strategy to rebuild those walls and gates and to handle the opposition to those very plans. It was there when the physical rebuilding was done and he recognized the need to hear the book of the Law opened so the exiles would be reminded of how they were to observe all God had laid out for them. It was there when he joined the community in the confession of sins and a heart of repentance.


Such godly leadership evoked a godly response from the people. After the confession they made, now they made an oath to keep God’s law. They not only said it, but they put it in writing and the leaders, Levites, and priests affixed their seals to it as well. They had heard the truth and they responded. After all, they had watched Nehemiah modeling this type of commitment from the beginning.


Their oath showed their seriousness as well because it included a curse if they would not follow their commitment to their pledges. Throughout the ninth chapter of Nehemiah their specific promises are outlined. These acted much like a covenant for the people.


Pledges and covenant are words not so common in our vernacular and neither is the word oath. When we do see those words or hear them, it is most often when someone is appearing in court or being sworn into office or being married.


Perhaps we no longer value such commitments.


Could it also be that too often we have observed that leaders we are submitting to do not make them or keep them so we feel excused from doing so?


Modeling matters.


A godly leader leads people in specific commitments.








16 thoughts on “Modeling Produces What Is Modeled

  1. Those terms aren’t commonplace these days, are they? So used to hearing them in context of scripture, that I hadn’t stopped to realize how little-used they are in modern society. And, perhaps you’re right–perhaps it’s a tricky thing to consider taking oaths when there’s so much potential for not staying committed. Attaching that curse was surely a reminder for their hearts. (And, also, I bet Nehemiah was such a good leader that he’d taught them the commitment to God’s ways was so much better for them that they’d rather be punished if they stepped outside of them — because they trusted it was for their good.) Enjoying your Nehemiah series, Pam. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. ((hug))

  2. It’s amazing what we can learn from a good model–or a bad one, I suppose. Good leadership models seem to be in short supply. Thanks for spending time bringing valuable lessons from this one to light. Visiting from #ChasingCommunity

  3. Hi Pam! It’s very powerful to read how much Nehemiah impressed his followers. As you said, they didn’t just hear, they wrote it down! He must have been a very powerful personality, and a strong model.
    I think most of us can smell a fake person, someone who crosses their fingers (love that image). Certainly, this wasn’t Nehemiah. God knew who he was choosing!
    Sunday blessings,

    1. Thanks, Ceil! I actually wondered if he was really a humble man who walked with such integrity that people followed readily as he was a great contrast to other strong arrogant leaders who bullied them and often misled and abused them. His strength clearly came from the Lord.

      I think we can often smell a fake person, but I also sadly think we often miss it. If that were not the case, there would not be so many people who are duped into financial schemes, business contracts, and relationships that are true disasters. Often, I think we need to double-check our perceptions and sense of smell. Our wounds, needs, and idios often get in the way of seeing the truth of a person.

      Yes, God knew He was choosing a man of character because He had watched and helped develop it over time.

      Love and hugs, my friend!

  4. I wish all of our leaders followed Nehemiah’s example. Thank you for sharing with #blogginggrandmotherslinkparty. #linkparty, #party. I have shared on social media.

  5. Scriptures also teach about how things will become worse and worse. Doesn’t mean I have to forget where I came from, why I am here or where I am going. Thanks for linking up with Blogging Grandmothers

    1. It has always been a sobering reality for me. It also reminds me of why I sometimes see things of my parents in myself I did not plan to have be there!!

  6. This is so good! What a great example of how we should parent our children. I’m absorbing this today and pray I can be a Godly leader to my children.

  7. Wow, this is excellent, Pam, and lately I’ve been thinking about how much my kids learn about what’s important to me by the way I pray . . . am I always focused on success and great outcomes? Do I ever make the glory of God and the ability to live in the midst of disappointment with grace a part of my audible prayers?

    1. Thanks for your great encouragement here, Michele! Your questions offer me a good challenge even though my children are grown and gone! Thanks so much! Have a blessed week ahead!

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