Role Models Abound in the Bible!

by: By Wayne Schatzle


       People are forever searching for role models and usually looking in all the wrong places. Sports heroes are often put up as good or bad role models. What gets them famous is physical ability, not character. How about looking at political figures, like the president?

       Sadly, people will always fail badly as role models at some point. The ultimate role model is Jesus Christ. He was and is perfect, and that is part of the problem with him as a model. Can we look to Jesus as an example of a great repenter? Remember, he never sinned. We need role models with whom we can identify.

       The Bible is full of examples of ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things, and it is recorded for us to learn. (1 Corinthians 10: 11). I like to look to the people on the path. People seeking the same rewards as us. Time and circumstance are non issues. People are people. They are warring against the same spirit as we do today.

       The first example I look for is repentance and, of course, David is the model for repentance. He wrote many of the Psalms, and what an inspiring testimony of the seriousness of breaking God's law they offer. Psalm 51 is the most famous, written after he was confronted about the sin with Bathsheba, and the murder of her husband, Uriah.

       The second model is connected to this story. I am impressed 'by the loyalty of Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 11:8-9). The story tells how he would not even enjoy his break from battle while his fellow soldiers were still on the field. He was not even an Israelite, yet he was loyal to the cause of his adopted nation. His murder was more of a shame than the other sins, because he was such a loyal person.

       Faith is the quality I think of when I read about Noah. Just think about the circumstances: Build a giant ship, no water around, it wouldn't float for more than 100 years, and no one believed him. Yet by great faith he completed the task.

       On the quality of meekness, I think of Moses. Meek is not to be confused with being wimpy. (In Bible usage, it means gentle, humble.) Numbers 12:23, "Now the man Moses was very humble more than all men who were on the face of the earth." Psalm 25:9, "The humble he guides in justice and the humble he teaches his way." God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud.

       Abraham was 75 when God told him to leave his country. Then, when he was more than 100 years of age, he was told to sacrifice his. son. Abraham is the father of the faithful, but I always think of the great obedience he showed throughout his life.

       There was a man you would call dependable. Joshua is one of the very few Bible personalities to escape having a drawback listed in his story.

       Joshua 11:15, "As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua and Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded." You could depend on him, and also he was absolutely fearless in the conquest of the promised land.

       When I read of the apostle John and how he interacted with others, and how he would lean on Jesus' bosom, I see the tender heart of an individual. In 3rd. John, we learn how he must have wanted to write reports about Diotrephes (a divisive leader in the church). Maybe not the best at leadership, he was mild and non-offensive, and a loving enough person and man" to show it.

       How about determined? Let's look at a story of a man on a mission. Five times lashed, three times beaten, stoned, three times shipwrecked, endured hunger, cold and dangers. 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, "Yet through it all Paul was tireless in the work of God."

       This is yet another reason to study our Bibles, whether the wisdom of Solomon, the morality of Joseph (Genesis 39:6-10), the courage of Stephen (Acts 6) or the evangelism of Phillip (Acts 8:26-40), we can look to these role models.       This is just a small sampling of many examples of acts of people who follow the narrow way. The Bible also includes many examples of what not to be. King Saul will tell us to follow instructions. Herod will say to give God the glory! (Acts 12:23) As we continue our journey through this short life, may we draw encouragement from the saints who have gone before us.

(Written by Wayne Schatzle,
director, Freedom Biblical Information Center
P.O. Box 1806, West Chester OH 45071)