2 Samuel 15:19-22 (ESV Strong’s)
19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why do you also go with us? Go back and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile from your home.
20 You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, since I go I know not where? Go back and take your brothers with you, and may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you.”
21 But Ittai answered the king, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, there also will your servant be.”
22 And David said to Ittai, “Go then, pass on.” So Ittai the Gittite passed on with all his men and all the little ones who were with him.
Imagine the camp of the Philistines in the early days of when David fought as General for Saul. Only what if there were was a Philistine different from the rest. One who realized they were on the wrong side. Maybe he wished he could change sides, that he had been born, not an uncircumcised Philistine, but a son of Israel.
Perhaps he was a young man, a brave warrior, who soon knew, there was something different about this Israel, and about this Israelite named David. As the Philistines lost battles, and David won them, maybe he began to question what he had been taught, and that perhaps this God of Israel was very real.
Maybe his uncle had told him the story of what had happened when The Ark Of The Covenant came to the cities of the Philistines, and defeated Dagon. How their fish god ended up in pieces, and the Philistines were smote with plagues. Finally how The Ark had left the country triumphant, without anyone to drive the cart.
What is the purpose of these wonderings, just this. Whether there was a soldier like that, I don’t know, but I do know there was a Philistine who didn’t just wonder. He, and a group from Gath, left their city to pledge their allegiance to David, and to Israel. His name was Ittai.
He and six hundred warriors from Gath came to David, ironically, at a time when David was retreating from Absalom. They joined him, not during victory, but what appeared to be defeat. Why did they stay, maybe it’s because they knew David’s story. This wasn’t the first time it looked like David was done.
The last time, was when Saul was on the throne. Yet David still sat on a throne, not because he defeated Saul in battle, but because he followed The God that defeated Dagon all those years ago. Commentators believe Ittai and his men were converts to The God of Israel.
They left everything they knew, to learn about this God, and David. They were proven right of course, Absalom was defeated, but they chose before they knew that. Maybe it has something to do with Ittai’s character, which was reflected in his name.
Ittai means with me. He chose to be with David when everything seemed against him. God accepted these men into the family of Israel. Essentially God was saying, now they’re with Me. It was a type and shadow of another people who were enemies of God.
It seemed they couldn’t change their future either, couldn’t deny their lineage. They were not part of the blood line of Israel. However, just as a young David went to Gath years before, and left an impression, another warrior entered a strange land, and changed the world.
Romans 5:10 (KJV Strong’s)
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Christ walked into our Gath, to offer us a new future. Only, it wasn’t just a changing of alliances, but a new birth. We became Children Of God, and Soldiers of The Cross. From defeated, to the Winning Side! I’m so glad that God redeemed us, letting everyone know, They’re with Me!
Revelation 3:20 (KJV Strong’s)
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and He with me.