Thursday, March 21, 2013

How Do You Save a Gittite?

One of the strangest stories in the Bible has to be the one where, as King David is preparing to flee Jerusalem to avoid being slain by his son Absalom, a troop of Philistine warriors shows up.

Led by Ittai, from the city of Gath, they offer their services to the king. David advises them not to cast their lot with him as his future is extremely uncertain.

Ittai's reply resonates with me in the same manner as Ruth's reply to Naomi: "As surely as the LORD lives, and my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be."

In my novel, FIELD OF BLOOD, Ittai plays a pivotal role in the battle of Ephraim's Wood. Writing this scene, I wondered about what might motivate a soldier, a sworn enemy of the Israelites, to take up the cause of Israel's king. To join his sword to a desperate undertaking as David's flight and final stand certainly was.

We understand the love that Ruth had for her mother-in-law. But here was a man who had seen David's armies devastate his people, who may have received wounds from one of the protagonists of this work, David's Three.

Reflecting on this, it occurred to me that once, I was at enmity with the God of heaven, a hater of the kingdom of Christ. I thought Christians to be fools and weaklings when I thought about them at all.

Near the end of the novel, Ittai asks Eleazar, "Can there be sacrifice enough for me?"

Everyone who comes to understand the depth of their rebellion against the Holy One of Israel must ask this question in some form or other ("What must we do to be saved?").

The answer is found throughout Scripture; the LORD has provided the sacrifice.

Thanks be to God.

On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided. -Genesis 22:14b

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