17 So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at the edge of the city. 18 All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.
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 people with you. May the Lord show you kindness and faithfulness.”
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.”
This was a difficult time for David, when his son Absalom rebelled against David and set himself up as king. David was forced to flee, lest Absalom bring harm to Jerusalem and David’s people. As they were going, a group of foreigners, the Gittites, came along with David’s men. David showed some kindness to them, advising Ittai to remain in Jerusalem with King Absalom, since these people were already exiles from their own land. Why should they be compelled to wander again, this time with King David, when they have just left their homeland?
This was impressive to me. In the midst of his difficulties, David is kind to one who didn’t need to be embroiled in more trouble. Ittai declares his loyalty to David because of the compassion David extended to him. That’s a reminder to me, that it never hurts to be kind. God guided David to become mature in character, and to put himself in someone else’s shoes. I think that’s what Jesus wants for us too.
Every day, Lord, we can make choices that honor you or not. We may be guided by your love, your compassion and mercy, or be hardened in heart. Let me live today for you, my Lord and my Savior, to glorify you. Amen.