“Then they cried with a loud voice, in the Jews’ speech, unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city” (2 Chron. 32:18).
Here is an example of those who would seek to destroy the peace of God’s people. Troublers were in existence in Thessalonica (cf. 2 Thess. 1:6) as well as among the congregations of Galatia (cf. Gal. 5:12). It is sad to think that there are some who would seek to disturb the peace of a people in order to advance their agendas. It is written of one who hindered the progress of the conquest of the promised land in the days of Joshua, “And the sons of Carmi: Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed” (1 Chron. 2:7). One of the things that the Lord hates is “he that soweth discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:19). Both Old and New Testaments give insights concerning troublers. Consider three principles about such.
- Militantly Work to Hinder Real Progress. When the early church was being hurt by certain troublers who would bind things that God did not bind, a letter was sent from Jerusalem to Antioch to bring needed peace. It was stated, “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law; to whom we gave no such commandment” (Acts 15:24). This Judaizing element was troubling the Gentiles and seeking to make the church something different from what God intended it to be. Luke recorded of certain Jews in Thessalonica who did not believe the gospel how that they militantly “set all the city on an uproar” (Acts 17:5). They accused Paul and the brethren of proclaiming decrees contrary to Caesar (cf. Acts 17:7), which was a false accusation. Luke states, “And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things” (Acts 17:8). The workers of Satan do not sit idly by while the gospel is spread.
- Misrepresent the Facts. When Zerubbabel and the chief of the Jewish fathers would not let certain ones join with them in the rebuilding of the temple, it is stated, “Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building” (Ezra 4:4). A thorough reading of the report from these troublers to Artaxerxes the king (cf. Ezra 4:11-22) shows that they misrepresented the history of the rebellious Jews with the remnant that was faithful to God and the kings of the nations. It is a common ploy by troublers to group all of God’s people with certain hypocrites to seek to discredit the whole. Another way to misrepresent is seen where Paul addressed certain troublers who “would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:7). Some error mixed with some truth creates great trouble as well.
- Mistake Who are the Real Troublers. Certain unbelievers in Philippi accused Paul and his companions, saying, “These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city” (Acts 16:20). They themselves were the real troublers while Paul and his were the ones who were helping the city. Such confusion is like to that of the conversation between Ahab and Elijah (cf. 1 Kings 18:17-18). Troublers are both deceiving and being deceived.