John Barnett Discover the Book Daily Devotional
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Discover the Book Mar. 24, 2011

  • 2011 Mar 24


When Bad Things Happen to Good People they Look for God

As we open to Psalm 3 we are seeing David’s response when bad things happen to him, especially when he is doing nothing wrong. The lesson is that when bad things happened in David’s life he looked to God for understanding.

For us the lesson is that when bad things happen to good people, they are to look to God for understanding.

We start at the last word of the superscript that appears just before the first verse.  That one word sets the tone for this period of David’s life we are examining. That one word in Psalm 3 that weighed heaviest on David appears at the end of the attribution line: A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son.

David was a good man. He loved the Lord and served the Lord. Though he failed at times like we all do, he was completely forgiven. Yet he went through years of hard times as consequences rippled through his life.

Now the painful events have crystallized. After so many other pains and struggles, a powerful new wave hits. All of this unforeseen and painful time of trials is reflected in Psalm 3, and in the parallel passage of II Samuel 15: was because of David’s own son.

What could lead to a son to rape his own sister? Or what would incite a son to murder his own brother? Or, as we see here, what could drive a son to try to murder his own father?

One word answers all three—sin! Sin led Amnon to rape Tamar;sin prompted Absalom to murder Amnon; and sin drove Absalom to seek his father’s death. David was facing the wider ripple of sin, now that it was dealt with in his life; David had to endure the effects it had on those around him that he loved. Which reminds us that:


God has a lesson for all of us here in Psalm 3, about what to do when bad things happen to good people. The lesson that God teaches us today is: they look for God. That is the only choice we can make when the waves keep rolling over us, the troubles keep coming, and life never stops hurting.

That is what David does in both Psalms 3 and in Psalm 63, as he runs from his own son, and reflects upon the goodness of God: that never ends, and is always close by.

That is the supreme peace David felt as he laid down in the presence of his enemies and slept. So should we, humbly, and in complete dependence upon our Lord. But what David faced in principle was what many, many parents have to agonize through.

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