The True Friend

And Ittai answered the king and said, “As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be.” (2 Samuel 15:21)

When times were good, King David had plenty of friends. Everyone wanted to spend time with a wise and successful king. Being close to David meant being close to a winner.

When times were bad, David found out who his true friends were. The bad times came from his own son Absalom, who cleverly plotted the overthrow of his father’s government. When Absalom made his move, he quickly found success – and David had to escape Jerusalem fearing for his life. Many of his previous friends abandoned him and pledged their allegiance to Absalom. But some of David’s friends shined brighter than ever. One of these shining lights was Ittai the Gittite.

As David watched his faithful supporters walk out of Jerusalem, Ittai the Gittite caught his eye. David couldn’t understand why this newly arrived foreigner should risk such loyalty to David. He told Ittai to go back and make his future with the new king Absalom. Yet Ittai refused, and his short speech to David revealed a lot about his character.

David and Ittai

First, in addressing David Ittai said, “As my lord the king lives.” When Ittai said king, he meant David, not Absalom. David told Ittai, “Remain with the king.” Ittai answered back, “That’s exactly what I plan to do – and you are the king.”

Next Ittai said, “Whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be.” Ittai was loyal to David when it cost him something. True loyalty isn’t demonstrated until it is likely to cost something.

We learn a lot from Ittai’s demonstration of loyalty, and it shows us how we should demonstrate our loyalty to Jesus Christ, the Son of David.

– Ittai showed his loyalty when David was down. Therefore, when the cause of Jesus seems weak or faltering in any way, all the more loyalty is required of us.

– Ittai showed his loyalty decisively. Therefore, our loyalty to Jesus should be whole hearted.

– Ittai showed his loyalty voluntarily. Therefore, we should not wait for someone to make us be loyal. We should quickly volunteer for this duty.

– Ittai showed his loyalty having newly come to David. Therefore, we should not think that this kind of loyalty is only for those who have followed Jesus for years and years.

– Ittai showed his loyalty publicly. Therefore, our “secret loyalty” to Jesus is not loyalty at all.

– Ittai showed his loyalty knowing that the fate of David became his fate – where David ended up, so would Ittai. Therefore, when we give this kind of loyalty to Jesus, we are assured that we will share in His glory.

Like Ittai was towards David, we must determine that wherever Jesus is we will be also. He lives in the heavenlies, so we also will be. He is with His church, so also we will be. He is busy in His work, so also we will be. He is with children, so also we will be. We will be friends indeed to our King Jesus.

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David’s weekly devotional is also translated into German.

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