Saul hunted down David. David could have killed Saul, but he did not.
"May the LORD judge between us. Perhaps the LORD will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. As that old proverb says, 'From evil people come evil deeds.' So you can be sure I will never harm you. Who is the king of Israel trying to catch anyway? Should he spend his time chasing one who is as worthless as a dead dog or a single flea? May the LORD therefore judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and He will rescue me from your power!" (1 Samuel 24:12-15 NLT)
Even though the king of Israel had made David his enemy, David showed respect to Saul. He respected the person, who was made in the image of God. He respected the office of king, that was selected by God. He honored Saul, the king who was chosen by God.
Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. (1 Peter 2:17 NASB)
Even though we don’t really know, there’s a good chance that Peter penned these words when Nero was emperor of Rome. Nero was said to dip Christians in oil and then put them on a post and burn them for light at night. Nero is famous for burning Christians, feeding them to dogs, and crucifying them. This is the emperor, the king, that Peter told Christ followers to honor.
When David had finished speaking, Saul called back, "Is that really you, my son David?" Then he began to cry. And he said to David, "You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the LORD put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn't do it. Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the LORD reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today. (1 Samuel 24:16-19 NLT)
As the story goes, Nero probably didn’t see the error of his ways. In fact, it was probably under his reign that the Apostle, Peter, was crucified. Nero never got it, but Saul saw the error of his ways. That only happened when he faced the truth of God. David was living out God’s truth and Saul repented when he was confronted by this truth face to face.
"Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. (Luke 6:35-36 NLT)
You see, Jesus gave us our marching orders. He sent us out to make disciples of all nations. That includes our best friends. That includes our families. That includes our neighbors, fellow-students, and coworkers. That includes everyone who loves us, everyone who is indifferent to us, and everyone who hates us. The mission never changes. Our mission is not to destroy. Our mission is to go, make, and build. When David honored an earthly king who was trying to kill him, he was actually honoring the real King who had made both of them. In loving his enemy, David was honoring God as King.
Jesus replied, "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38 NLT)
How about you? Do you love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind? Do you honor the king’s King?