Dealing With A Troublemaker

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 20:1 (NIV)
Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted, “We have no share in David, no part in Jesse’s son! Every man to his tent, Israel!”

2 Samuel 20:1 (MSG)
Just then a good-for-nothing named Sheba son of Bicri the Benjaminite blew a blast on the ram’s horn trumpet, calling out, “We’ve got nothing to do with David, there’s no future for us with the son of Jesse! Let’s get out of here, Israel—head for your tents!”
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“There happened to be there a worthless and wicked man named Sheba the son of Bichri, a Benjamite. He blew a trumpet [to call Israel to revolt] and said, “We have no portion in David and no inheritance in the son of Jesse, every man to his tents, O Israel!” -AMPLIFIED

Yesterday we left David on his way back to the royal city after his men had squashed Absalom’s revolt. He has encountered Shimei, Mephibosheth, and Barzillai already on the way back. By this point in time I am sure David was just wishing this journey was over and he could be home once again, but the problems were not over yet.

At the end of chapter 19 verse 40 we find this very telling verse that will help us understand why this next problem became an issue. “When the king crossed over to Gilgal, Kimham crossed with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel had taken the king over.” -2 Samuel 19:40 (NIV)

The men of Israel confronted David and the men of Judah at this point and suddenly things began to spiral out of control once again. We have a troublemaker, named Sheba, stepping up and completely driving the wedge of descent into place.

One troublemaker is all that it takes to cause a whole lot of problems. And David has had his fair share of problems lately. Let’s see how he handles this particular problem after the experiences he has had over the last few chapters. (Remember David’s track record. He refused to deal with his troublemaker son, Absalom, until it was too late.)

Se find David calling Amasa to him and ordering him to, “Go and tell the men of Judah they have three days to get here, and you come with them.” -2 Samuel 20:4 (VOICE) So, Amasa set off to carry out the king’s wishes. Sadly, he was unable to return in the king’s requested timeline and he failed to send back any reports.

David knew he needed to take care of this troublemaker, Sheba, or he was going to have bigger problems. So once again he called one of his trusted commanders. This time it was Abishai. David said to Abishai, “Sheba, Bichri’s son, will do more damage to us than Absalom if he’s left untouched. Take my men and pursue him. If we’re not careful, he’ll escape into a fortified city and continue to cause trouble.” -2 Samuel 20:6 (VOICE)

David’s men, under the leadership of Joab, set out to squelch the revolt that Sheba had tried to set into motion. Much happened in between the setting out and the crushing of Sheba and his revolt, but we will look at that part tomorrow. Today our focus is on that troublemaker Sheba.

We find that Sheba had fled to hide in the town of Abel Beth Maakah, among his kinsmen. He may have been a troublemaker, but he was not a stupid troublemaker. He surrounded himself with those he thought would protect him and have his back. He failed to consider that there was one wise woman in the city who was thinking of more than just his foolish pride. She was thinking of all those in the city who would die BECAUSE of Shea’s foolish, trouble making decisions.

As Joab and his troops laid siege to Abel Beth Maakah the wise woman called out from the city wall asking to speak to Joab. Between to two of them they came to an agreement; she would hand over Sheba to Joab and Joab would stop attacking the city. We then find Scripture telling us this, “The woman presented her strategy to the whole city and they did it: They cut off the head of Sheba son of Bicri and tossed it down to Joab. He then blew a blast on the ram’s horn trumpet and the soldiers all went home. Joab returned to the king in Jerusalem.” -2 Samuel 20:22 (MSG)

Just like that the trouble was over. Now mind you, not everyone that you are having a disagreement with is a troublemaker. The Bible though does give us instructions on how to deal with those who are trying to cause division and strife.

* “Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down; you need a break from bickering and griping!” -Proverbs 22:10 (MSG)

* “It’s a mark of good character to avert quarrels, but fools love to pick fights.” -Proverbs 20:3 (MSG)

* “Do not answer [nor pretend to agree with the frivolous comments of] a [closed-minded] fool according to his folly, otherwise you, even you, will be like him. Answer [and correct the erroneous concepts of] a fool according to his folly, otherwise he will be wise in his own eyes [if he thinks you agree with him].” -Proverbs 26:4-5 (AMP)

* “One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.” -Romans 16:17-18 (MSG)

Wisdom and discernment are required, but once it is clear that you are dealing with a troublemaker start praying for that person and deal with the issue quickly. The longer you wait to take care of the problem the bigger the problem will become.

My Prayer:
Lord, give me wisdom in how to handle those who tend to be troublemakers. I know I need to love them, but I also need to nip the trouble in the bud. Give me understanding in how to deal with each situation, I pray. Too often my first desire is to just let things go, because I do not want to be confrontational. Give me the courage and strength to deal with troublemakers in a godly, righteous way. Thank you, Lord.

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