One of the things people who love the bible appreciate is its openness and honesty about the messes and mistakes that occur in the lives of its brightest stars. It holds nothing back. If you are a faithful student or just a devotional reader of the Word of God you are acutely aware that some of the TV dramas cannot hold a candle to the some of the stories in Scripture.
King David’s life could easily be a script for the next major television series or made for TV movie. It has an almost unbelievable story line.
1. He went from the sheep pen to the palace.
2. He went from being the keeper of grass fields to the killer of giants.
It is a rags to riches kind of story but not everything that happened in David’s life was good. Despite being, as the Bible describes, a man after God’s own heart David was not always good and did not always reflect God’s heart. I want to give you a little background so you can understand the flow of this dramatic miniseries of as the ‘Palace turns’.
I will try and give you the Cliff Notes version. At the end of the story we are going to focus in on a seemingly insignificant and little known role player in the drama of King David’s life.
David was a man after God’s own heart but he was not perfect. Though God blessed David and he prospered not all of his decisions were motivated by devotion to God.
Many were motivated by power, political policy and lust.
1. Because of that David set the stage for family and even national problems with his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah the Hittite.
2. Because of this sin God told David the sword would never depart from his house and it did not.
David had a lot of wives and a lot of children a recipe for strife. David had a son named Absalom whose sister was Tamar. She was absolutely beautiful. They had a ½ brother Amnon. Amnon lusted after Tamar. The bible says that he mourned because he could not have her. His desire was so strong for her and frustrated by fact he could not have her that he almost felt sick.
Unfortunately Amnon, like so many people, had not surrounded himself with good influences. He had a friend, a cousin, Jonadab, who gave him some bad advice, since he was sick in his soul over this just pretend he was sick and King David to allow Tamar come and help tend to him. She baked for him. He wanted her to come help him eat. When she came into the room he grabbed her and forced himself upon her. Raped her. She went out shamed. After he had violated her he hated her and the hatred he had for her was stronger than the love he felt for her to begin with.
Tamar’s brother Absalom found out about it and took Tamar into his home to live. Absalom was brilliant man and a handsome man but now he was an angry, bitter and patient man. This was a deadly combination.
For 2 years Absalom plotted against Amnon. He invited all his brothers to his house and when they came he had Amnon murdered who went into exile for 3 ½ years. He came back and his dad refused to see him for a long time. Out of anger and greed Absalom plotted against his father for 40 years. He used his looks and charm and stole the hearts of the people and even the throne itself.
When word came to David that Absalom had declared himself King and he had support David took every one with him but a few concubines and fled. As they were leaving the city David stood and watched all his family and soldiers who had been with him for years, even during his days of hiding from Saul, pass before him.
As they were passing one man, whom I am sure you know and recognize, garnered David’s attention, a man by the name of Ittai the Gittite.
2 Samuel 15.13-22 – Then a messenger came to David, saying, ”The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” 14 David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, ”Arise and let us flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go in haste, or he will overtake us quickly and bring down calamity on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” 15 Then the king’s servants said to the king, ”Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses.” 16 So the king went out and all his household with him. But the king left ten concubines to keep the house. 17 The king went out and all the people with him, and they stopped at the last house. 18 Now all his servants passed on beside him, all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had come with him from Gath, passed on before the king.
19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, ”Why will you also go with us? Return and remain with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile; return to your own place. 20 You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander with us, while I go where I will? Return and take back your brothers; mercy and truth be with you.” 21 But Ittai answered the king and said, ”As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.” 22 Therefore David said to Ittai, ”Go and pass over.” So Ittai the Gittite passed over with all his men and all the little ones who were with him. 23 While all the country was weeping with a loud voice, all the people passed over. The king also passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over toward the way of the wilderness.
Notice that Ittai did not have to go. David gave him an honest out.
1. Ittai, probably a mercenary, had only been a part of David’s Special Forces for a short while.
2. His loyalty in such a dire circumstance was not expected but Ittai says: As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king, may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.
In looking at Ittai’s character and decision to remain loyal to his king there are some very simple lessons we can learn about being faithful to our King. Lessons that we desperately need.
IT TAKES COURAGE/CONVICTION TO REMAIN FAITHFULLY COMMITTED TO THE KING.
Dictionary: Courage – Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.
We can look around us today and see many areas in life where people display courage.
1. Military – past and present – who have laid it all on the line for their nation.
2. Local heroes – Firefighters, paramedics and police (Need our prayers as 6 shot and 3 dead in Baton Rouge).
3. I think of those who face tragedies, illnesses and personal crisis with grace and strength and emerge from them with their faith intact.
4. I think of those who stand firm for their faith in the face of great opposition and ridicule.
When it comes to remaining faithful to our King courage of conviction is needed today, as it always has been.
In a society that has become increasingly antagonistic toward people of the Christian faith it takes courage to speak the truth, stand for the truth and live for the truth and do it in love. In a world that challenges our faith it takes courage and conviction to remain true to our King.
We live in a world of…
Relativism – where truth is irrelevant because it depends on the situation or is determined by an individual’s perception, experience or feeling and not an objective unmoving standard.
1. It is a system that removes any form of moral or spiritual judgment.
2. It takes courage – to stand for something we believe – something others have abandoned.
3. Morality and character seem to matter little.
Universalism – It does not matter what road you take they all lead to the same place. It takes courage to say there are only 2 possible roads you can take and no they do not end in the same place
Sexually charged world – It takes courage to stand for and fight for sexual purity in a world that ignores God’s plan for sexual expression. (Christian colleges, not expressly and solely dedicated to training of people for ministry, are now under pressure [Biola University in California] in regards to the same sex marriage/LGBT agenda. This week, 7-17-16, Methodist Denomination appointed first openly gay Bishop despite the ban/vote).
World pursuing temporal things – position – possessions – pleasures of all kinds of variety. It takes courage when the world applauds one kind of life and we are called to live a different kind of life. They focus on the temporal and we are called to live for the eternal.
Living for Christ in every age has been difficult.
1. You will be misunderstood. You will not be in the majority. You may stand alone.
2. It will take courage to stand with your King. It will take courage to stand for kingdom values.
It does not take courage to know the right thing. It takes courage to do the right thing.
We need people who are willing to stand with courage and conviction. We need to stand together. It’s much easier to stand with someone. The Bible is filled with men and women of courage.
1. Paul – prisons, shipwrecked, beaten and stoned because of his stand for Christ.
2. John the Baptist – stood before King Herod and said – you are living in sin – this woman is not your wife she is the wife of another.
3. Moses – stood before Pharaoh and spoke on behalf of the one true God – when Pharaoh and all of Egypt thought Pharaoh was a god himself.
4. Elijah- on Mt. Carmel – stood before 450 prophets of Baal.
It takes courage to stand with our king when others will not.
I have also found it takes courage to stand when things are difficult and don’t go as we planned. When our plans have been upset or turned upside down it is difficult to have courage and to stand with God and trust Him.
Courage means we are willing to work and serve even if it is difficult and my cost us.
David Livingstone, who was a great missionary to Africa, received a letter asking for his position and stating that if there were any good roads they would send some men to help. Livingstone replied, ”If they will only come if there were good roads he did not want them. He wanted men who were willing to come if there were no roads at all.”
In our story the majority stood with Absalom. The road was going to be dangerous because David knew Absalom would come for Him. He told Ittai to return but he chose to stay instead. He stood with the one He knew to be the true King of Israel.
IT TAKES LOYALTY AND A WILLINGNESS TO SACRIFICE and STAND WITH OUR KING
Loyalty is something that is missing today.
The instructor from a dog training workshop in Salt Lake City noted that a dog’s disposition (loyalty) can be tested by the owner. If the owner will fall down and pretend to be hurt, a dog with a bad temper will tend to bite him. A good dog will show concern and may lick the fallen owner’s face. Susan Matice attended the dog class and then decided to test her two dogs. While eating pizza in her living room, she stood up, clutched her heart, screamed and fell to the floor. Her two dogs looked at her, and then they looked at each other, and then they raced to the coffee table for her pizza – Associated Press 1-17-91
People used to be loyal to their companies and their bosses and now they go with the highest bidder. Companies used to be loyal to their employees and now they are loyal only to the bottom line. Baseball, football players used to be loyal to their teams and now they are nothing more than mercenaries seeking the highest dollar. Even in our families and churches loyalty is often times a missing commodity.
I find it missing in my life at times.
1. We are a people of convenience rather than commitment or conviction.
2. When things go wrong in our lives our first response many times is to become angry with God. We fuss and fume and God. We walk away from God. We become disloyal.
3. Our loyalty is based on how well the circumstances in our life are treating us.
The question is, ”Where will we go if we leave him? Where else will we turn? What has he done to deserve our disloyalty? What has the world to offer better than heaven? Where else will you find the promise of one that will walk with you through the valleys and shadows of this life?”
Ittai had not been with David long.
1. He had defected from Philistia to join David’s army.
2. He moved to Jerusalem because that’s where the work was – that’s where the pay was – had good schools – good area to raise a family – but He was willing to give it all to follow David.
3. He was willing to risk it all to follow the one he knew was the rightful king. He was willing to lay down his life – to sacrifice his life on behalf of his king.
If Ittai was loyal, committed to David, a man whom he had not known long, how much more should we be to Christ. Ittai is willing to stand with his king and even give his life. Yet many of us are unwilling to sacrifice:
1. A few minutes of our day to spend time with God.
2. Time to thank God for the way He has blessed our lives
3. Material possessions to honor him
4. Give our time and our talent to make ourselves available to God.
5. Comfort to share Christ – or help another
We are like the two little boys who had been to Sunday School and learned about sacrifices in the OT. They decided to build an altar (dangerous). They built the altar and got the matches and realized they needed something to sacrifice. They found an old toy camel that was broken and said, ”Here, we’ll sacrifice this camel because he’s not worth anything.”
He was willing to give his all. Something we are called to do. Romans 12 – called to give our bodies – our total being to God as a living sacrifice. It is our reasonable service of worship.
Spurgeon — Who else has ever done for us what Jesus has … if we had a thousand lives and were to give them all, yet would he deserve more of us, for he has redeemed us from going down to the pit, saved us from flames that never shall be quenched, and from a pit that is darkness itself.
We have a king who has given everything for us – though we can never repay – shouldn’t we give everything for Him? When you find in Him what this world cannot give you never walk away.
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