Monday 01 February 2010

Bible Book:
2 Samuel

"But Ittai answered the king, 'As the Lord lives, and as my Lord the king lives, wherever my Lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.'" (v.21)

2 Samuel 15:1-23 Monday 1 February 2010


Today's passage tells of Prince Absalom's rebellion against hisfather, King David. Absalom has been in exile from the court forthree years following the set up of his elder brother Amnon'smurder (see 2 Samuel 13). Amnon had raped their sister,Tamar, and Absalom had revenged her. In today's passage he hasreturned and been publicly reconciled to his father the king. Nowthere is the long, patient lead up to his father's overthrow.

Absalom's political manoeuvres to steal "the hearts of the people"could come right of a news account of party politics today. With astrategy worked out over years he gradually undermined the people'sconfidence in King David's ability to govern effectively. He wasdevious and suggested himself as an alternative so that peoplewould think they had thought of it themselves.

There may be nothing new in politics, but there is something new inthis passage. David, ever the realist, removed his officials fromthe city of Jerusalem to avoid slaughter when he realised whatAbsalom was doing. He saw that a foreigner, Ittai, had also broughthis households into this exile and told him to turn back and savehimself. Ittai refused, giving his loyalty to David, the Lord'sanointed.

Amidst all the bloodshed and conflict of this story there is a rayof hope: Ittai has a lesson to teach about what it is to follow Godand God's anointed one. His is an example of great loyalty andfaithfulness, despite his household not being in the Hebraiccovenant. The message is not that God's anointed can do no wrong,but that the love of God is for all people despite our worstfailures to live up to that promise.

The challenge for us today is to extend the scope of whom we thinkis 'in the club', remembering that God is for all. We will sharethe benefit of grace together, and the cost.

To Ponder

If you were in Ittai's shoes, would you haveturned back?

Was it right that Ittai choose loyalty to Davidover safety for his "little ones"? Why?

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