The devotional for 20th May by Peter Mohr is based on 2 Sam 15,21: Do you know Ittai?
A translation of a devotional held by Peter Mohr and based on 2 Samuel 15, 21:
But Ittai answered, “Your Majesty, I swear to you in the LORD’s name that I will always go with you wherever youm go, even if it means death.” (Good News Bible)
Dear listeners! »Do you read in the Bible?« If you do, that’s good, as it gives you the chance to experience directly what God wants to say to you. A second question: “Do you know Ittai?” If you don’t, then I would like to introduce you to this man who belonged to the followers of King David.
Let me begin with a few words on the situation in which David found himself. The army leader Itta had made his way from the Philistine city of Gath, which we have to imagine in the area of today’s Gaza Strip, to David, bringing with him 600 soldiers as well as with women and children. Ittai wanted to strengthen David’s army. David, however, was fleeing from his son Absalom, who had instigated a mutiny against him. In this situation David wanted to spare Ittai and his people, turning down his offer of help:
“Why are you going with us? Go back and stay with the new king. You are a foreigner, a refugee away from your own country. You have lived here only a short time, so why should I make you wander round with me? I don’t even know where I’m going. Go back and take your fellow-countrymen with you — and may the LORD be kind and faithful to you.”
But someone who makes their way to a new general with 600 soldiers and women and children has certainly considered their actions well beforehand Hence, Ittai replied to King David:
“Your Majesty, I swear to you in the LORD’s name that I will always go with you wherever you go, even if it means death.”
Ittai wanted to be faithful and loyal until death. His loyalty and support should be a help for David in every situation. What Ittai said won even more weight when he swore in the name of the Lord. Ittai apparently believed in the God of Israel, even though he had come as a foreigner from a hostile country where there were many other gods and idols. That gave his oath of allegiance a whole new and deeper credibility than it could otherwise have had coming from a soldier. That makes him a son of David. Ittai would not have thought that far with his oath. But God had promised David that his throne should last forever (2 Samuel 7:13). So, with Ittai’s promise, we advance from Ittai to David and through God’s promise from David to a »SON« of David. Different people of his time repeatedly referred to Jesus Christ as “the” son of David. This was in particular the case when Jesus entered Jerusalem and the people shouted: “Hosanna to the son of David. (Matthew 21: 9) In Jesus Christ the sovereignty of David will endure forever! And so Ittai, with his time and place-bound oath, was included in an eternal perspective!!
But what about you? How do you stand with regard to this son of David?
Ittai and David both died, but Jesus Christ, »David’s son«, is alive. We can encounter Him in many different ways, in a church service, in a Bible word, through a car accident that shakes us or some other difficult situation. We can also encounter Him in a conversation or in a quiet moment.
But the question is: how do we react when we do encounter Jesus Christ in whatever way? I would like to invite you to such an encounter with Jesus Christ, son of David.
Are you preoccupied with all number of other things at the moment? Are you perhaps so afraid of the crisis in which we at present find ourselves that you are no longer able to think clearly? Or are you not interested in such encountering Jesus at all? I have the impression that the current situation in our country and in the world should inspire us to think about a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. If we do that, we will soon be faced with the question what it means to say “I believe in Jesus Christ«?
Is it a question of keeping the Ten Commandments? Is it mainly about doing good works, does it mean that we are no longer allowed to enjoy normal things?
Do we sometimes stand in the way of our knowledge or more generally our mind? Ittai helps us with the question: What does it actually mean to say: “I believe in Jesus Christ?” Ittai, the man from the land of the Philistines, »believed« so much in David and in his future as a king that he wanted to go to him and be with him, even if it meant dying. This, I think, gives us a wonderful answer to the question: »What does believing in Jesus Christ actually mean?« Believing in Jesus Christ means connecting to Him, even more, it means handing over your whole life to Him, unto death. Believing in Jesus Christ means that in good days as in bad times we remain close by Him and aim with our thoughts, words and deeds to do His will.
As Ittai did with David, his general. Believing in Jesus Christ means that particularly in grief and suffering we stay by His side, instead of withdrawing from Him in disappointment. Ittai is, in the truest sense of the word, a role model: by bonding with David he showed his belief in him and so gave us an example that our belief in Jesus Christ means bonding with Him in all situations, in life and in death, and holding on to our trust in Him and love of Him.