Before reading this message, please read 2 Samuel chapters fourteen through eighteen in order to familiarize yourself with the story. If you will do so, Iím sure the Lord will reveal much to you through that passage and through this writing.
King David, who is a type of Christ, had a son called Absalom. 2 Samuel 14:28 says, "And Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem; and he saw not the king's face" (ASV). Absalom, the estranged child of the king, had no desire for the king, only for the kingdom. He lived two full years in Jerusalem without seeing the king and after he finally was allowed in to see King David, he set himself about the business of taking the kingdom for himself.
Absalom never spent time with his father, and like the prodigal son, he only wanted what his father had. Even after being reconciled to his father, he had no desire to develop a relationship with him; he only wanted his inheritance. He only wanted the kingdom, not the king.
David found himself fleeing Jerusalem in order to save his life from Absalom, who had revolted against David. As David was leaving Jerusalem with his loyal subjects, he found Ittai the Gittite leaving with him. David told Ittai to go back to Jerusalem, for he had only joined himself to David a day earlier, but Ittaiís response was, "ÖAs Jehovah liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, even there also will thy servant be" (2 Sam. 15:21 ASV).
Ittai was only with David for one day, yet he was willing to die just for the opportunity to be with his king. He only wanted to be with David, although it appeared at the time that David could offer him nothing but hardship. Because of Ittaiís devotion to David, David eventually made Ittai a commander of the armies of Israel along with Joab and Joabís brother Abishai (2 Sam. 18:2). However, before this honor was given to Ittai, his commitment to be with the king no matter what the cost meant passing through the Kidron Valley (the valley of mourning) toward the desert (2 Sa. 15:22, 23).
Absalom was driven by ambition. He knew that as a child of the king, he had a claim upon the kingdom. He was like many Christians who are children of the King, yet have no desire to be with the King, especially if it means following Him through the Kidron to the desert (or down to the Cave of Adullam). Absalom speaks of those children of God who want the Kingdom but not the King. They want the authority, the blessings, the riches or position, but they spend very little time in the Kingís presence. In fact, like Absalom, they rise early, not to enter the gates and go into the Kingís chamber, but to stand outside the gates and turn the attention and affection of the people away from the King and to themselves (2 Sam. 15:2, 3). If they can gain the affection of the people, they can fulfill their ambitions. Thatís why so many ministers have become so polished and humorous and have become so adept at winning people over.
Ittai speaks of those Christians who are willing to lose that which Absalom sought just to be with the King. In fact, they are willing to lose their very lives in order to be with their King: something of which the Absaloms of today just could never conceive. Absaloms have lives and desires outside of the Kingís presence. They need the King, for He is the source of the Kingdom that is theirs by virtue of birth, but they seek Him only as a source and not as a person.
Those of Ittaiís spirit, however, have nothing if they donít have the Kingís presence. They have already left all, including their ambitions, in order to follow the King. They have said, "surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, even there also will thy servant be."
There is no way Absalom could conceive of the commitment that Ittai made to David. However, the day came when Absalom (the heir) died and Ittai was given a place of great authority in Israel.
In Absalomís pursuit of the king, not to be with the king, but to take from the king what he felt was his by inheritance, he was caught by his hair in a tree (2 Sam. 18:9). Absalom was obviously very proud of his hair, for he would weigh it when he cut it so he could boast of his thick long hair. The very thing that Absalom gloried in was the thing that caught him. It caught him because he was in hot pursuit of the king. Had his glory or his gifting been bound up as he patiently drew near the king in the kingís chamber, it would have posed no threat to him. However, because he let it wave in the breeze for all to see, and because his pace was hurried and impatient, and he was not quietly drawing near to David in the kingís chambers, but was in pursuit of the king to take what he felt was his, his glory became his demise.
As well as typifying Godís ambitious and selfish children of today, Absalom typifies Godís son Israel that wanted the kingdom but not the King and eventually sought to destroy the King of Glory. Ittai was given to pass over the Kidron with King David, who typifies Jesus as He passed over the Kidron on His way to the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of the Passover (2 Sam. 15:30). David, fleeing for his life from his son Absalom, goes up the Mount of Olives weeping, just as Christ agonized in the garden located on the west slope of the Mount of Olives. Ittai, who was willing to follow David there, was later given great authority in the kingdom, while Absalom, the kingís heir, lost his life while pursuing his selfish ambitions.