How do you make peace with someone who does not want peace?
At first the relationship between King Saul and David was great. Starting off, David became the king’s armor bearer and played the lyre to help Saul feel renewed after a harmful spirit would overtake him. (1 Sam.16:14-23) Then he killed Goliath in battle and fought successfully against the Philistines everywhere Saul sent him. 1 Samuel 18:5 says, “So, Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul's servants.” The story sounds like the start to an epic friendship, but then Saul starts becoming jealous of David’s success. His envy drove him to attempt to kill David several times, but they all failed because the Lord was with David.
By 1 Samuel 20, David approaches the king’s son Jonathan, feeling that there is no hope for his and Saul’s relationship. After hearing David, Johnathan is at first in denial. However, Johnathan is a righteous man and decides that he will do what he can to find out a definite answer for David. Johnathan approaches his father and as the topic of David gets discussed, Saul says, “Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” Johnathan then warns David of his father’s murderous intent. Thus, begins David’s journey on the run from Saul.
David flees from Saul’s pursuit by hiding in caves and going from town to town. Amidst this, David even has two opportunities to kill Saul. The first time, David simply cuts the corner of Saul’s robe to prove that he is not against Saul. Saul is so touched by David’s actions that in 1 Samuel 24:18 he says, “And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day.” Saul then proceeds to ask David the favor of not killing off his house when David is King, to which David agrees. The next time, David and some men snuck into Saul’s camp and they found everyone asleep because of the Lord. David’s men encouraged him to kill Saul but David replied, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should put out my hand against the Lord's anointed. But take now the spear that is at his head and the jar of water, and let us go.” (1 Samuel 26:10-11) After letting Saul live the second time, David left Israel to live amongst the Philistines. There he learned about the death of Saul and Johnathan at the hands of the Philistine army.
A person would normally relish in the demise of their enemy. Especially if they did not do anything to provoke them. David, however, recognized Saul for who he truly was, the Lord’s anointed. Therefore, He mourned the death of his enemy just as much as he would have for a friend. Everyone on this Earth has been personally created by our Father in Heaven. Romans 2:11 says, “For God shows no partiality.” Children of God should not let conflict distract them from His truth. David never did anything to warrant Saul’s wrath; all he ever did was serve Saul to the best of his ability. Even though Saul tried to take his life multiple times, David left vengeance to the Lord, he trusted Him completely. Trusting God and treating your enemies according to His standards entails taking action, just not sinful action. David’s actions included: turning to God in prayer, seeking help from his friends, and fleeing from Saul. Yet, David did not lash out at Saul. He also didn’t seek revenge on Saul or Israel when he was amongst the Philistines. David did not let conflict cloud his heart from God’s teachings, and neither should we.