Ittai…sounds like a greeting in another language, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s the name of a Bible guy. His name may not be as familiar to us as Noah or Jonah, but if he has a whole section of Scripture telling us about him maybe we could see what’s there.
The story (2 Samuel 15:19-23) is set when King David’s oldest son is trying to take the kingdom from him. Basically, David and all of his people are hitting the road here, thinking that his son is coming to take over the palace.
It was probably an intense and sad time for David’s group. Not only was his son, Absalom, betraying him, but everyone who wanted to stick with David was having to leave their homes and risk their lives.
It was no small group, either. There were a lot of people who still considered David the king and they were going to stay with him, no matter what. They were risking their lives declaring their loyalty to him. One of these men is called out by name in the Bible, Ittai the Gittite. He is not even an Israelite, yet he wants to stay with David. Let’s eavesdrop on the conversation. (quote taken from Biblegateway.com)
19 The king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. 20 You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your countrymen. May kindness and faithfulness be with you.”
21 But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.
When I read that, the first word that springs to mind is loyalty. Loyalty to the anointed king that God had chosen. David had already given up and declared Absalom the winner even before a fight. And here, a person who wasn’t even an Israelite was reminding David that he was still the king, not Absalom.
Loyalty, what a great quality…most of the time. But sometimes we can get our loyalties mixed up and tie ourselves to the wrong things. We can find ourselves being loyal to things that aren’t good for us and our walk with the Lord.
This week I am going to look at how I spend my time, because I think that will show where my loyalties lie. Do I say that something is important in my life, but then stay loyal to something else? It’s the action that will truly show my loyalty.
Ittai the Gittite was given a blessing by David to stay home. He chose to be actively loyal instead. He could have stood at the gate to the city, waving goodbye to the king and his group, but he decided to let his loyalty not just do the talking, but the walking, too.
In my life, what are my actions saying I am loyal to? I think the Bible is important, but how much time am I actually taking to study what it says? Am I being more loyal to checking my email on the computer than I am to spending time with my family? Where do my loyalties lie?
I have a sneaking feeling we will all be surprised what our loyalties appear to be if we really keep track this week. Let’s try to make sure our walk lines up with our talk.
What do you say? Ready to try it? Leave a comment this week and let me know how it goes.