Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

June 2021 Issue

Trouble Maker

From the Current Issue



Since 1957, when The Music Man debuted on Broadway, the tune and lyrics to one of its most famous songs have become iconic in American music history. See if you recognize this snippet from the more than seven hundred words of the rollicking hit, “Ya Got Trouble”:

Friends, the idle brain is the devil’s playground!
Oh we got trouble
Right here in River City!
Right here in River City!
With a capital “T”
And that rhymes with “P”
And that stands for pool
That stands for pool!
We’ve surely got trouble!
We’ve surely got trouble!
Right here in River City
Right here!
Gotta figure out a way
To keep the young ones moral after school!

If you can’t hear that song in your head while reading those lyrics, search online for the clip of Robert Preston singing it in the movie version of The Music Man, which was released in 1962. I promise you won’t be disappointed (and I’ll bet you’ll watch it more than once!)

There is a troublemaker in this world who uses lies, counterfeits, and contradictions to stir up trouble in our life.

So what’s this long song, and the entire story, about? It’s all about a charming, fast-talking con man named Harold Hill who comes to River City, Iowa. His con consists of visiting Midwestern towns to convince naive residents to fund a marching band for the towns’ youth—a way to keep them off the streets and out of trouble. He collects money for instruments and uniforms, then skips town with the cash without ever delivering the goods or the marching band.

Arriving in River City, Hill looks for a “hook” to begin his deceptive sales campaign. He finds it when he discovers the local pool hall has taken delivery of a new billiards table which has attracted the rabid interest of the River City boys. That’s it! All he has to do is convince the parents that pool is the gateway to a life of degradation and sloth. Instead of seeing their young people wasting their lives in the pool hall, let’s get them in a marching band!

I won’t tell you the whole story except for this: Harold is exposed, but a band is formed, and Harold and Marian the librarian fall in love. Sweet, right? It’s an amazing production—the original Broadway version won five Tony Awards and led to film (1962) and television (2003) adaptations.

So, why have I introduced you to a con man named Harold Hill? Because the way he tricked the people of River City bears a striking resemblance to the way the Bible’s “trickster,” the devil named Satan, tries to trick us.

Harold Hill tried to convince the residents of River City that a pool table was the real trouble in their town when, in fact, he was the troublemaker behind the scene. The traveling salesman used deceit, emotions, and false promises to separate the residents of River City from their money. Pool wasn’t the trouble; a troublemaker named Harold Hill was the trouble!

Does that sound familiar? If you know your Bible, it should. There is a troublemaker in this world who uses lies, counterfeits, and contradictions to stir up trouble in our life. He tries to get us to focus our attention on various versions of “pool”—circumstances, envy, finances, relationships, hardships—and blame God for the problems they are causing in our life. When, in fact, the troublemaker himself is the real source of trouble. If he can get us to blame God for the troubles in our life, then he has succeeded.

When Job was in the midst of his troubles, one of his friends told him, “Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). And he was right—in this world we will have troubles. Even Jesus did! But if we trace all of this world’s troubles back to their starting point, guess who we find at the root of it all: Satan the serpent in the Garden of Eden. By contradicting what God had told Adam and Eve, he convinced Eve to disobey God (and Adam followed). And there’s been “trouble in River City” ever since.

In this issue of Turning Points, we’re going to pull back the curtain on the great deceiver, the ultimate troublemaker, named Satan. We’ll expose his schemes and tactics, reveal our defenses, and discover that his end is already written. There is trouble ahead for the great troublemaker!

This Month's Magazine Resource


Prepare to stand firm against Satan as you shine the light of God’s Word on his lies.

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