The mark of a great leader – 24hrs. That’s all it took for for Ittai the Gittite and all of his 600 men to know the type of leader/king that David was.
3 verses. Thats it – that’s all Ittai the Gittite gets in all of scripture. But these three verses give us insight into two very important leadership aspects, one about David and the other about Ittai.
David – was the type of leader that it only took 24hrs for Ittai to dedicate his life to David’s. Sometimes I’m plagued with questions in scripture. For instance, what did Ittai see in just 24hrs from David to inform this decision? While we don’t know specifically, David’s response gives us a clue. First, David recognizes that Ittai and his men had only been with him for only 24 hrs (you came only yesterday). If I were David I would ignore this little fact and without question take all the help (600 men) that I could get as my kingdom is in the midst of a civil war. But David is a different kind of leader, instead he releases Ittai and his men showing an incredible amount of grace and even blessing Ittai asking that God would show his “steadfast love and faithfulness”.
Ittai – What kind of general/leader offers not only his own life but the life of his 600 men to a king that he had met for just 24hrs. To make matters worse, within that 24hrs this king is fully absorbed in a civil war that seems to place him on the loosing end? Ittai’s awareness amazes me. Not only does he see deeply into the character and caliber of leader of king David but he see’s God’s hand on David.
In the midst of the most challenging of situations both of these men do the unthinkable as they lay down conventional wisdom and instead are led by their heart and the will of God. Often I realize that what I see as “wisdom” needs to be laid down in trust of the greater wisdom that God provides for those that seek His heart.