Leading by example is a simple principle to understand, but it’s a very difficult one to live. The prophets were often called to lead by example, though doing so usually meant enduring suffering for others.
“And the word of Yahweh came to me [Ezekiel], saying, ‘Son of man, you are dwelling in the midst of the house of rebellion who has eyes to see and they do not see; they have ears to hear, and they do not hear, for they are a house of rebellion. And you, son of man, prepare for yourself the baggage of an exile, and go into exile by day before their eyes. And you must go into exile from your place to another place before their eyes; perhaps they will see that they are a house of rebellion’ ” (Ezek 12:1–3).
By witnessing God’s servant suffering, the people would be reminded of their rebellion and understand the gravity of God’s displeasure. In this situation, God prescribes exile as their punishment for rebelling against His requirements …