“But Ittai said to the king, ‘I vow by the Lord and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens - whether it means life or death.’”
2 SAMUEL 15:21
Read 2 Samuel 15:1-34; 17:27-29; 19:1-7
There is great value in having true friends. True friends are those who care about you more than they care about themselves. They stick by you when it is not easy to be your friend. They add value to your life and encourage and support you to do what is right, even when times are tough. False friends, on the other hand, are only in it for themselves. They are only there in the good times and when times get tough, they become disillusioned and offended, leaving you to go in search of better things.
Ittai was a true friend to David. He hadn’t known David very long. In fact, he only met David the day before, and yet, he devoted himself to David and was willing to suffer and even die for his friend. David’s son, Absolom wasn’t interested in a relationship with his father; he was only in it for himself. All he wanted was his father’s kingdom; so much so, that he conspired to take it from him by force. Therefore, David and all his family were on the run from Absalom. They were headed into the wilderness; their future was uncertain. They stood to lose everything and yet, Ittai was willing to be David’s true friend. Even though David was going through troubled times, he was willing to stick by him no matter what.
Jesus is a friend like this towards us. He suffered and died for us so that we can walk in friendship with Him. He is faithful even when we are not. He holds nothing back from us. In Romans 8:17 we are told that we are co-heirs with Christ. We stand to inherit everything in the Kingdom of God, together with our Saviour, brother and friend. However, this is dependent on whether we are willing to stand by Him through suffering. The second part of verse 17 says, “provided we are willing to suffer with Him in order that we may be glorified in Him”.
In Proverbs we read that a friend loves at all times and that a brother is born for adversity. What kind of friend are you? Are you like Absolom who was only in it for himself? Or are you like Ittai who loved at all times? Jesus is still calling us to be His friends and is looking for friends who will remain true even when times are tough. The promise for true friends of Jesus is that they will share in His glory! It is interesting that later in the story, Absolom lost the kingdom and his life, but because of his friendship during tough times, Ittai was made a general in David’s army.
Author: Denis Thompson - Lead Elder, 242 Church, Hull