When Influential Trouble Comes in Waves
By Meg Bucher
“Troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray.” - Deuteronomy 13:13 NIV
Much like hard times come in seasons, trouble comes in waves. The tricky part about determining a bad influence is weeding out our assumptions. We may tend to honor older people as wiser, louder people deserving of our ear, younger people as having nothing to add to our experience, and so on and so on. We all kind of jockey around for position in this life, don’t we? And when it gets turned on its head, it makes us feel uncomfortable and confused. It often blindsides us, and sometimes traps us.
Before we allow our lives to be swayed, it’s wise to determine the direction of the waves. Captains navigate following seas, a shallow-water chop and oncoming rollers differently. So should we, expect to handle, recognize, or navigate trouble.
troublemaker - a person who causes difficulties, distress, worry, etc., for others, especially one who does so habitually as a matter of malice. -dictionary.com
Trouble doesn’t always announce itself. Quite the opposite, it often looks appealing and sounds very convincing. Today’s verse takes us back to a time in the Old Testament when God’s people were being warned of ‘troublemakers.’ Those that attempted to pry people away, maliciously or not, from God.
“Troublemaker,” translated to “worthless” in the New American Standard Bible, is taken from the Hebrew word beliyya`al, which means, worthlessness …worthless, good for nothing, unprofitable, base fellow …wicked …ruin, destruction.
What happens when trouble is permitted to seep through a leaky crack? As the definition above states: destruction. Just because we didn’t realize trouble when we followed it doesn’t mean we’re not liable for what we do under its influence.
Walking with Christ allows us to double-check for trouble, including a scan of our own thoughts and intentions. Jesus died to open the flood gates of forgiveness, in an extension of God’s grace. When we know Him, the Spirit stirs us. To warn us, nudge us, and protect us. But we have to be listening to head the warning. We have to be in the Word and in prayerful conversation with Him. When we let go of His hand we leave space for trouble to cause trouble.
Later, this word (beliyya’al in Hebrew) was used as a name for Satan (2Co 6:15; Greek Beliar, a variant of Belial), who is the personification of wickedness and lawlessness. -NIV Study Bible Notes.
Wickedness and lawlessness. That’s not what I want creeping in the back door of my awareness. But it does. And he will …take every advantage of our thrown-down guard, our relationships, and every weakness he can get his hands on in order to trample and ruin as much as he can. As followers of Christ, it’s wise to be very wary of who we entertain and encourage.“Pray about everything,” and that’s how we’ll know what to do.
Father, Praise You for altering us to danger… to trouble. Thank You for Jesus, that we may receive Your guidance in conversation through the gift of Your Holy Spirit. We confess letting trouble sneak up on us, on account of our lack of listening skills. Please bless us to make time for You and Your Word, so that we can hear You.
In Jesus’ Name,