David, having heard of Absalom’s rebellion, fled from Jerusalem. Along with “the king’s men” (II Samuel 15:18a, NLT) and “the king’s bodyguard,” (II Samuel 15:18c), “There were 600 men from Gath who had come with David” (II Samuel 15:18b).
“Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, ‘Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile. You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don’t even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the Lord show you his unfailing love and faithfulness” (II Samuel 15:19-20).
Despite the predicament David found himself in, he still wanted to give the “men from Gath” an out if they wanted it. David, in essence, told them, “This isn’t your fight.”
“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” (II Samuel 15:21).
“David replied, ‘All right, come with us.’ So Ittai and all his men and their families went along” (II Samuel 15:22). David, like the rest of us, was imperfect; but he’d still proven himself to be a fair and good king overall. And because of this, many remained loyal.
But David couldn’t take all of his loyal subjects with him. A lot of people had to remain behind, soon to be subjects of the usurper Absalom. It was a sad, sad day as they watched David and his procession: “Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. They crossed the Kidron Valley and then went out toward the wilderness” (II Samuel 15:23).
“Zadok and all the Levites also came along, carrying the Ark of the Covenant of God. They set down the Ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until everyone had passed out of the city. Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. ‘If the Lord sees fit,’ David said, ‘He will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. But if He is through with me, then let Him do what seems best to Him” (II Samuel 15:24-26).
A broken and humble David allowed Abiathar to offer “sacrifices until everyone has passed out of the city.” But he didn’t allow the Ark to be taken out of Jerusalem.
“‘If the Lord sees fit,’ David said, ‘He will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. But if He is through with me, then let Him do what seems best to Him.” David was resigned to the will of God, whatever that turned out to be.
How hard it is to relinquish everything into the hands of God, even when we know He’s our loving, completely trustworthy Father! We don’t always know how a situation is going to turn out, but if we hold onto our faith and fully trust in God, we can face anything.
I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but your Heavenly Father does. And He loves you and wants to sustain you and help you every step of the way. David put his trust firmly in God. Will you?
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2).