Adapted from a study done on Genesis 10 & 11 by Tim Simoneaux
Leadership Principle # 1 Unanimity
The Monarch, His Man, His Message
Right out of the gate, an excellent strategic plan fails because of failure to recognize leadership. Genesis 10:8-9 (ESV),
"Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a might man. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD. There it is said, 'Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD'."
We find the term “mighty” applied to Nimrod three times in Genesis 10 and again in Chronicles 1:10. He was a chieftain and an empire builder. As we read further in Genesis 10: 10, “The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” As we read in Chapter eleven of Genesis, Nimrod inspired a people to band together to build a tower that would reach into the heavens. Their motives were to make a name for themselves. They recognized Nimrod as their leader, as their monarch, as their man, and his message of making a name for himself became their message. They recognized a leader with the right methods, but wrong motives.
Who is our Monarch? Who is on the throne of our lives? Nimrod wanted to take the place of God; to usurp God’s place in the hearts of the people of Babel. Before the Church can unite behind a leader, we must know who is on the throne in our own hearts and in the heart of our leader.
Loyalty to Leadership
The people were loyal to Nimrod’s leadership. In Genesis 10:10 we find the key to the first nine verses of the eleventh chapter. Here we have the first mention of Babel, and like the first mention of anything in Scripture this one demands careful consideration. In the language of that time, Babel meant "the gate of God" but later, because of the judgments which God inflicted there, it came to mean "confusion”. Nimrod organized, not only an imperial government over which he presided as king, but that he instituted a new and idolatrous worship. Nimrod demanded and received Divine honors; introducing idolatry into the world. Arthur Pink wrote in Gleanings From Genesis, “Here, again, we learn how wonderfully the first mention of anything in Scripture defines its future scope; from this point Babylon in Scripture stands for that which is in opposition to God and His people- it was a Babylonish garment (Joshua 7:21) which led to the first sin in the promised land, while from Revelation 17 we learn that Romanism, which will gather into itself the whole of apostate Christendom, is termed "Mystery Babylon."
"Let us make us a name" the people cried. They followed their leader loyally in order to reach their goals. Their leader was determined to keep mankind together under his leadership, in his kingdom. Others, throughout history, have blindly followed a leader, making their leaders’ goals their own. A notorious event of the twentieth century of blind followership was the self-martyrdom of hundreds of people under the leadership of Jim Jones. In Jonestown, Guyana in November of 1978, lead by his powerful influence, more than 900 followers committed mass suicide by drinking cool-aid laced with cyanide. The saying “drink the cool-aid” comes from this infamous tragedy. The people blindly followed a Nimrod style leader.
Other examples of Nimrod style leaders were Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. People blindly followed them, taking their orders to perform atrocities against innocent people. Followers like those of Nimrod, Jim Jones, Hitler, and Stalin (to name only a few self-proclaimed demigods), can be labeled, diehards. A diehard follower is totally committed to the cause; this committed effort can be either positive or negative. Obviously, in the example of Nimrod, Hitler, Jones, and Stalin, the example is negative, or the evil influence of self-aggrandizing leadership. Can the Church learn a lesson from these diehard followers?
When considering followership styles, let's consider exemplary followership, or the type of follower who is faithful to leadership after carefully determining that leadership is leading him or her in the right direction. An excellent example of exemplary followership is in the history of one of our oldest and strongest churches in the Apostolic movement. A pastor raised up a congregation of believers who loved him, but loved God’s Word more. He had taught Scripture to them so well, that when he himself made the decision to move away from sound doctrine, the people refused to go with him. Instead, they stayed true to the Message because they had the Right One on the throne.
An example of blind followership can be found in another revival Apostolic church. It had grown explosively in an area of the United States where true revival growth was unheard of. The people united behind their pastor and built a solid congregation of believers in only a few years. Sadly, the pastor strayed from sound doctrine and holy example and the result was a broken, splintered church. The people had the wrong one on the throne. Instead of following Jesus Christ and His Word, they were blindly following a man.
An example of diehard, exemplary followers getting behind a God-follower leader is a thriving Apostolic church with many years of revival. The church was born out of one couple’s burden and has survived decades by exemplary followers getting behind their pastors, men and women of God who have God on the throne.
Emphatically, the Church can learn from diehard followers, both those who blindly follow and those who are exemplary followers. We must be exemplary followers in that we must be critical thinkers, not blind followers. Once we have determined that a leader is a God-follower and that the plan is God’s plan, then we must be totally engaged. Fully engaged Christians following a God-follower leader can accomplish great things for the Kingdom.
All Said the Same Thing
Genesis 11:1, “Now the whole earth had one language and the same words” (ESV) Genesis 11:6, “And the LORD said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them’” (ESV). The people of Babel were all in one place and in one mind. They weren’t arguing over how to build the wall, they were following a leader and it was their wall! They were united together for one cause. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:10 (KJV), “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Paul recognized a great leadership/followership principle here. To be successful, we must all speak the same language (doctrine) and bind together in unity. Unanimity is essential.
Another example of unanimity in the Bible is Acts 2:1 (KJV). “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Philippians 2:2 exhorts us to, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” When a people bind together in unanimity, great things can be accomplished.
The opposite of unanimity is division. “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mark 3:25 KJV). One of the great failings of Christianity has been its deep divisions along doctrinal lines. One has only to study early Christian history to see how the Message of Christ has been over-shadowed by division among believers. What would happen if everyone who called themselves a Christian would band together under one banner, all saying the same things. Let’s take that a little further. What if all those who call themselves “Apostolic” would unite under one banner, putting aside petty differences for the sake of unanimity? There is no room for Scriptural compromise, ever. But, there is plenty of room for differences in ideology not based on Scripture, but on tradition or culture, to be set aside for the purpose of unanimity among brethren.
The Church must be united under our God, our Man, and our Message. The enemy is wandering about looking for those he may devour (1 Peter 5:8), but though he try, he cannot destroy us. They enemy cannot destroy us with all his fiery darts from outside; only we can destroy ourselves from inside. Unanimity in the Church is essential.