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A Friend Like Ittai

January 15, 2024

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When the chips are down, and the foundations upon which we build our realities are shaken, we see where the true loyalties of those we call friends lie

You can never claim to have a true friend until there is a shaking and your friend is still standing when the dust settles

The day Absalom took the throne from David, a lot of people who claimed to be for David did a quick assessment of the situation and made quick decisions

Ahithophel, David’s chief adviser had told Absalom the only way to seize the throne was to go to Hebron (where David was crowned king for the first time) and he sent for the leaders of the tribes of Israel to worship God with him

Absalom did this when the leaders arrived, they were made to swear their loyalty to Absalom

Some people who were loyal to David sent him a secret message detailing what was going on

David quickly fled from the palace knowing the next move of Absalom would be to kill him and his men

As the king fled, he realized many of his mighty men had left him for Absalom

These were the same men who came to him while in debt, men with whom he shared the spoils of war equally

Some of the men never forgave David for the death of Uriah and his marriage to Bathsheba

Some simply felt the king was old and clinging to legal power while Absalom had been ruling in his stead for four years as a sort of self-appointed crown prince

Their reasons notwithstanding, they betrayed the king

The saving grace of the king would be to cross the river Jordan to the other side and put a good distance between himself and his rebellious son

Ittai was the leader of a group of 600 Philistine men from the city of Gittite

These men had journeyed with Ittai on a visit to Israel to visit King David

They came a day before Absalom executed his plan

The war was not their war

David met with Ittai and asked him to leave Israel with his men because of the political unrest of the time, Ittai said no sir, I will stand by you

When the loyalty of old friends got tested and was found wanting, a stranger stepped in to boost the ranks of David

God had made a provision for the betrayal of the fickle when David was not even aware of the conspiracy going on all around him

God knew and He made a way!

When the battle to reclaim the throne of David eventually commenced, it was Joab, Ittai and Abishai who led the attack

The three generals delivered the throne to the King

Without Ittai and his men, victory would have been impossible

Another man worthy of a mention in the return of the King was Barzillai the Gileadite, an 80-year-old, rich man, who heard that the king was in distress and provided food, water, beddings, clothes and all the other material needs the King and his men needed in their season of distress

Barzillai took a risk that paid off

Had David died, Barzillai’s family would have been labeled traitors and killed for helping the enemy of King Absalom, just as Saul killed all the priests of Nob for daring to help David some years earlier, Barzillai didn’t have to help but God led him to

Even though David was being punished by God for the evil he did to Uriah, God still made a way of escape for him

What a God! What a father!

A friend recently shared with me the testimony of how he met a man at a restaurant on a Friday afternoon (He was with his children) He said this man took notice of how he was playing and having a good time with his children

He said the man came to him and said, “Wow, you are a good father, I enjoyed watching you and your kids this afternoon”

A year later, the man’s wife asked for a divorce and sole custody of the children

When this man got to court, the judge was the same man who had met him and his children at a restaurant several months earlier

Despite all the lies the wife and her lawyer wrote about this man, he said the judge didn’t think twice before dismissing the case and granting them joint custody

The man said he knew the meeting was divinely ordained because God knew what was coming while he didn’t!

When David was rewarding those who fought for him and supported him in regaining his throne after the victory, he gave Barzillai the Gileadite a seat at his table in the palace

Barzillai in turn gave this seat to his son

Ittai on the other hand went back home with his men, he was rewarded with words of kindness and gratitude and of course, material blessings for him and his men but he was not numbered among David’s mighty men or given a noble position in Israel!

In recent times, I have been reflecting upon the life and times of David and Jesus, especially in terms of their horizontal relationships with fellow men, how they managed communication, interactions, friendships between subordinates and equals, familial ties, spousal issues, etcetera

I have made some mistakes I desire never to repeat and the only way to get better is to study those who have gone before us and learn from both their successes and mistakes

David and Jesus have always been my go-to for instructions in leadership and relationship management

Kings are raised through Kings

I found the role of Ittai instructive and I learned a lot from him, he was a stranger who was willing to die for a king whose own kith and kin abandoned

What a man!

As we pray this month, many of us who have experienced deep betrayals will encounter our Ittai, a man or a woman who has been sent to hold you up at that moment when all else would fail

If you already have such a person in your life, pls send such a person a thank you message today

The Bible said David spoke to Ittai with gratitude and kindness

I cannot even begin to list such blessings which the Lord has garnished my life with, in the last few years

Remember that Ittai was not David’s friend, he was a man sent by God to help restore David back to his throne in his hour of great distress

If you have had such a blessing in your life, pls celebrate him or her

May God continue to bless those who yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading and timing so that they can be of great benefit to us in our time of distress

 

PS: We are praying 24 hours every day throughout the month of June 2023 You can join the prayer chain on Zoom or link up with Prevailing Prayers with GSW on Twitter spaces and other platforms by 6 pm every day

Word and Tongues Fest holds next weekend, pls don’t miss it

Please remember the poor and the needy today

Pray for them and help as many as you can

 

I love you

-GSW-

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