2 Sam 15. The setting: Absalom has returned from exile for the killing of Amnon, who needed killing for raping his sister Tamar. He is the oldest living prince in Israel at this time. He comes back with an attitude for being cast into exile for doing something he thought his father should’ve done. He has all of the characteristics of a king, physical and mental make-up. And he starts campaigning for king and eventually orchestrates a coup against his father David. David is told the people are with Absalom. So David flees. David is the last one to leave the city, as the 600 supporters of his go towards the wilderness.
As Ittai is leaving, David tells him to return with his brothers. You just got here. But Ittai answers that wherever the king may be, for death or for life, there also your servant will be. So Ittai passes over along with all his people. This put them into a precarious and very dangerous situation. He was committing the Gittites to something they really did not have to be involved in and something everyone knew was going to be bad.
Of course, David does come back, Absalom is done in by Joab and Ittai is eventually rewarded. But Ittai didn’t know that now.
And ook at Ittai first words - “as the Lord lives.” This is all about God and he believes David is God’s man. There is someone else involved in Ittai’s decision that is absolutely key. Verse 22, "and all the little ones who were with him." He was making a decision which would impact future generations in his family.
If anyone cheered the heart of David that day, it wasn’t the 600. They had been there before. It was Ittai. He hasn’t been there before.
What is in this story for us? John 6:66- Jesus has just fed the 5000. They come back again for more food which He doesn’t give them and teaches them why. But it’s too harsh for most to hear. After this most of his disciples would quit following Him. Jesus says to the 12, go ahead with them if you want to, just like David talking to Ittai. Peter says Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. In death or in life, we go with you.
That has to be our commitment as well. We need to declare that same loyalty to the Lord. Total complete surrender to His will. We will follow him in death or in life.