Barzillai is not one of the better-known men of Old Testament times, but the biblical account of his life and his relationship with King David can teach us something about standing strong for a friend-or what God has taught us is right-even when there is risk involved.
David’s son, Absalom, had turned public opinion against him, to the point where the king had to literally run for his life. And while the Bible doesn’t tell us that Barzillai knew David personally, he definitely knew about David and understood that he was a leader who was truly a man after God’s own heart.
The Bible recounts Barzillai as a man who extended kindness and support to someone in desperate need-and probably at great personal risk. Though his decision to support David wouldn’t have fared well in public opinion polls of the time,he never hesitated in standing up for God’s anointed leader of the nation of Israel.
We live in a time when identifying ourselves with Jesus Christ isn’t as popular and accepted as it once was-now standing for God’s principles opens us up to scorn and rejection. But God calls us to be modern-day Barzillais, people who will stand up for Him even though doing so presents risks.
Now Barzillai was very old, eighty years of age. He had provided for the king during his stay in Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man (2 Samuel 19:32 niv).