from Lynda Lindsey
King David, preparing to flee Jerusalem after Absalom’s rebellion, speaks to Ittai the Gittite: Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are foreigner, an exile from your homeland. 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. II Samuel 15:19-20
Ittai’s response: 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. II Samuel 15:21
David said to Ittai, “Go ahead, march on.” II Samuel 15:22(a)
Ittai’s response to King David is reminiscent of Ruth’s faithful reply to Naomi in Ruth 1:15-19. Naomi, preparing to return to Bethlehem after the death of her husband and sons, urged Ruth, her daughter-in-law, to go back to her people. Instead Ruth pledged unswerving devotion and loyalty to Naomi, and the two women went on together.
Both Ruth and Ittai were foreigners in Israel. Both acknowledged the Lord. Both exchanged the known for the unknown. Just as Ruth’s commitment encouraged Naomi in a trying and difficult time, so must Ittai’s commitment have encouraged King David. David, on the run from Absalom’s rebellion and attempted take-over of the nation, was trying to stay alive, preserve the kingdom and his son Absalom’s life.
David, now dealing with painful consequences arising from a series of past sinful acts, must have been especially touched by Ittai’s demonstration of faithfulness. David acknowledged Ittai’s love and loyalty by welcoming Ittai into the king’s service. David’s response to Ittai is telling: “Go ahead, march on.” Both Psalm 3 and Psalm 63 record David doing just that: going ahead, marching on, depending on God. God, David declares, is a lifter-up of our head, our shield and deliverer, and our sustainer…no matter the circumstances.
What else can we do when facing consequences brought on by our own sins and failures? We confess. We repent. We seek God’s mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness. We bow in submission to our God. We renew our love to Him. We thank God for His Son, Jesus, through whom forgiveness and restoration is possible. We offer God our heartfelt worship. We invite God’s Holy Spirit to blow a fresh wind through our life. We go ahead. We march on.