Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

How David responded to a rebellious child.

How David responded to a rebellious child.

I’m journaling through the Psalms this winter, and this truth shot out at me like never before.


It was the little phrasing before Psalm 3: “A psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.”

A rebellious child.

Could anything break the heart of a Christian mother like a rebellious child?

We don’t just fear the rebellion, the outright rejection of all you’ve taught them, but we fear the consequences of the stupid choices rebellion will bring on the child we love so much.

Well, David knew the heart break of a rebellious son and his reaction to this situation stuck fast in me as I read it.

Here he is, the King of Israel, who is now being betrayed by his own boy. Can you imagine the heartache of knowing that your son wants something so much that he would kill you to get it? That envy and greed had such a hold on your boy that all love was gone? That he had so little regard for God’s laws that he would do whatever it took to satisfy his desires for power and recognition?

I can’t.

I also can’t imagine being in the frame of mind to write and sing in that moment either. Yet that’s just what David did.

He wrote Psalm 3 during this trial.

That’s not to say that David didn’t grieve. We know that he did, of course. He wept and mourned as he ran for his life.(2 Sam.15:30)

But despair didn’t rule his heart. He was still able to worship and sing.

I love what Matthew Henry says of David’s devotion to God:

“[David] had a great deal of provocation given to him by those from whom he had reason to expect better thing,

from his son, whom he had been indulgent of,

from his subjects, whom he had been so great a blessing to;…

yet he was so far from any indecent expressions of passion and indignation that he had calmness enough for those acts of devotion which require the greatest fixedness and freedom of thought. …

Let no unkindness, no, not of child or of friend, ever be laid so much to heart as to disfit us for communion with God.”

Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. Ps. 3:3

How do you respond when trouble comes in the form of rebellious kids or problem people? When people disappoint you? When friends turn out to be frenemies?

Does your reaction show a Spirit-filled life? Or is your reaction equally disobedient as your rebel against sound teaching and respond in anger saying any old thing that comes to our mind or seeking revenge? Do you assert self, put them in their place, tell them off and show them who’s boss? If so, we’re failing of the grace of God. We’re not using our ability to say no to sin to choose a godly course. Did you know that you CAN choose to respond to ungodliness with a godly response?

Are you struggling with bitterness over a past hurt?

” [Anger] is hate stirring up malice, ill will, resentment, and revenge:”How could she…I’ll get him! She’ll pay for this!…”

“Our unholy anger can be dialed down by God’s holy anger. When we feel God’s hot rage against all sin and injustice [including our bitterness] we begin to chill and calm. Vengeance is God’s. He will repay.” Refresh, page 84

David’s hope was in God, and our hope can be in God, too. As parents, we’ll always pray for our children and love them no matter what.

But when we find ourselves in the middle of heartbreaking circumstances, let us seek Him first and continually. In  the darkest hours of betrayal, disappointment, and heartache, may we desire to worship our Refuge, Comforter, Shield, Counselor, and Encourager.  It’s in those darkest moments when we look to His promises and cling to His goodness, that we’ll see His love burning all the more brightly in our dark surroundings.


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