Dissension in the Ranks

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Samuel 30:21-22 (NIV)
Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Valley. They came out to meet David and the men with him. As David and his men approached, he asked them how they were. But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, “Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go.”

1 Samuel 30:21-22 (MSG)
Then David came to the two hundred who had been too tired to continue with him and had dropped out at the Brook Besor. They came out to welcome David and his band. As he came near he called out, “Success!” But all the mean-spirited men who had marched with David, the rabble element, objected: “They didn’t help in the rescue, they don’t get any of the plunder we recovered. Each man can have his wife and children, but that’s it. Take them and go!
“David came to the two hundred men who were so exhausted that they could not follow him and had been left at the brook Besor [with the provisions]. They went out to meet David and the people with him, and when he approached the people, he greeted them. Then all the wicked and worthless men among those who went with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will give them none of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may take his wife and children away and leave.” -AMPLIFIED

The victory against the Amalekites had been won. David and his men headed back toward Ziklag with their rescued family members, all their restored belongings and the spoils of war that they had taken from the enemy. They returned the way that they had traveled on the way and in so doing they came to the two hundred men who had been left behind from extreme exhaustion. (These guys had been left in charge of caring for the supplies while David and the rest of the men went on to fight.)

I am sure there must have been a lot of joyful celebrating going on as this large mass of people were traveling back. So those who had been left behind would have certainly heard the returning warriors. They rushed out from the camp to welcome the men; to see how the battle went. David greeted them with a resounding word, “Success!” That word alone conveyed everything that they wanted to know.

Sadly, there were a band of troublemakers in the group. We are not told how many of David’s men were included in this band of troublemakers, but it only takes one person to stir up trouble. Trouble was exactly what these guys were aiming for too. These guys were wicked and greedy were are told; evil and mean-spirited. (I am sure we all have dealt with people just like them.)

These men said to David, “Because these men didn’t go with us, why should we give them back the things we recovered for them? Sure, let them take back their wives and their children. But that’s all. We’ll keep the rest, and they must leave.” -(VOICE)

David was not having anything to do with their foolishness though. He was their leader and as leader he told them exactly how the situation was going to be handled. “My brothers, this is not how we’re going to treat what the Eternal One has returned to us. He saved us and gave us success over the raiding party that sacked our city. 24 Why would anyone agree with you about this matter? The share of the one who fights is the same as the share of the one who looks after the supplies. We all share equally.” -1 Samuel 30:23-24 (VOICE)

David nipped that bit of trouble right in the bud. He does not let these men get the upper hand, but he takes the initiative and refuses to allow them to have their way. As leader he was the man in charge. He also set a standard in place that would stand for the future; we are told this David made his decision a law and an ordinance. And at the time of the writing of 1 Samuel it was still a law.

David had to deal with those troublemakers. If he did not take the initiative there could have been even bigger problems down the road. The Bible gives us clear guidelines on how we are to deal with troublemakers who are bent on causing dissension within the family of God.

* “I am pleading with all of you, brothers and sisters, to keep up your guard against anyone who is causing conflicts and enticing others with teachings contrary to what you have already learned. If there are people like that in your churches, stay away from them. These kinds of people are not truly serving our Lord Jesus the Anointed; they have devoted their lives to satisfying their own appetites. With smooth talking and a well-rehearsed blessing, they lead a lot of unsuspecting people down the wrong path.” -Romans 16:17-18 (VOICE)

* “Tell them these things. Encourage and rebuke with full authority. Let no one disregard or despise you [conduct yourself and your teaching so as to command respect]. Remind people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready and willing to do good, to slander or abuse no one, to be kind and conciliatory and gentle, showing unqualified consideration and courtesy toward everyone.” -Titus 2:15-3:2 (AMP)

* “Remind the people of these facts, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God to avoid petty controversy over words, which does no good, and [upsets and undermines and] ruins [the faith of] those who listen. Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.” -2 Timothy 2:14-15 (AMP)

The Apostle Peter put these guidelines in place to encourage us to be peacemakers and not troublemakers:
“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. “Whoever wants to embrace life
and see the day fill up with good,
Here’s what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
run after peace for all you’re worth.
God looks on all this with approval,
listening and responding well to what he’s asked;
But he turns his back
on those who do evil things.” -1 Peter 3:8-12 (MSG)

How do we deal with a troublemaker?
1.) Pray for them. Let God deal with them.
2.) Do not go along with their game.
3.) Do not try and retaliate; doing so brings you down to their level.
4.) Do not argue with them. You will not win.
5.) You may need to just walk away.
6.) Remember, you are a child of the Most High God; act like it!
7.) Love the person and keep no record of their wrongs. (Jesus does.)
8.) Pray for them again.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” -Matthew 5:9 (MSG)

My Prayer:
Lord, I want to be a peacemaker, not a troublemaker. Work in my life; fill me with your peace. When I am confronted by those who insist on be troublemakers, help me to extend your love to them and to handle those situations in a godly manner. My desire is to be more like Jesus; help me to emulate the godly attitude that you desire for me to have. Let others see more of you and less of me.


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