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 (NIV)
One troublemaker is all it takes to bring ruin to an entire group. I have experienced this on teams, in a cast/production, in churches, in civic organizations, and in business. Years ago I witnessed a business suffer from the schemes of a troublemaker who happened to be the son of the owner. The father refused to discipline or deal with his son while the son connived to gain more and more power within the company. Eventually, the father sold the business to his friend. When the transaction was completed and the new owner was in place, the former owner advised his friend to fire the son. The new owner thought to himself, “Even though he told me to fire his son, my friend will surely hold it against me if I actually do it.” So the new owner refused to deal with the troublemaker for many years and the son continued to be a source of contention and strife within the organization. I remember watching this unfold. It felt like one of Jesus’ parables come to life.
I thought about that business this morning as I read today’s chapter. Like the father in my example, David refused to acknowledge and deal with his troublemaker son, Absalom, until it was almost too late. Still stinging from the fallout of Absalom’s failed coup, David appears to have learned his lesson. He moves swiftly to deal with the troublemaker, Sheba.
When Sheba flees to hide in the town of Abel Beth Maakah, David’s army surrounds the town and lays siege to it. A wise woman in the town arranges for a parlay with the general, Joab, and learns that the entire village is being threatened with destruction because of one troublemaker, Sheba. The wise woman quickly surmises that it would be better for the whole city to expel the troublemaker than face possible ruin. The townspeople kill Sheba, cut off his head, and hurl it over the wall to Joab and David’s army. The threat is eliminated.
The further I get in life’s journey the more intolerant I have become of troublemakers and crazy makers. I have discovered that there is a difference between a reasonable person with whom I am having conflict and a troublemaker with whom I cannot reason. Wisdom and discernment are required, but once it is clear that I am dealing with a troublemaker or crazy maker, I have found that acting quickly to diminish that person’s exposure to me, my life, and my circles of influence is ultimately in my best interest.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.