Webster defines loyalty as: “the quality or state of being true and constant in support of someone or something.” True and constant in support; aren’t those beautiful words? If only we could find that quality in others – if only others could find that quality in us.
Often, when thinking of loyal companions, Ruth is rightfully mentioned for her loyalty toward her mother-in-law, Naomi. Her response to being encouraged to remain in Moab with her family is almost legendary. “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16)
Recently, I uncovered a much more obscure example of a similar loyalty. The scene is ancient Israel. David’s son, Absalom, has just launched a revolt against his dad, and David is fleeing Jerusalem. It appears that each man is being forced to decide whether to stay in the comforts of Jerusalem and serve Absalom, or to flee with the shirts on their backs and support David.
While David is taking an inventory of the men setting out with him, he encounters a man named Ittai. Listen to the exchange between these men. “ 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. 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.” 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.” (2 Sam 15:19-21).
In town for only one day and forced with a major decision – where would his loyalty reside? Ittai chose David, because God had earlier chosen David. Ittai’s loyalty wasn’t based upon a lifetime of David having earned it, but on Ittai’s desire to honor God by supporting His chosen one.
Loyalty – true and constant in support of someone or something. Does it describe us in relationship to our God? How about to one another? –Dave
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