David becomes king of Israel after a considerable delay, and with a great deal of adversity. That is what 1 Samuel 16:1–2 Samuel 5:5 is all about. This period of David’s life can be summed up by two words: “time” and “trouble.”
After Saul finally went one step to far, Samuel is dispatched by God to Bethlehem to anoint a replacement. When Samuel arrives, David is not even present, because no one ever dreamed David was a contender for king (1 Sam 16). But then Samuel anoints David as king and David must wonder how long it will be before he becomes king. The answer is that it is much longer than he imagines, and much more difficult, too.
Still in 1 Samuel 16 we read of David’s selection as Saul’s private musician and armour bearer (16:14-23). There he is in the king’s palace. Surely he can’t be far from ruling over Israel now. He is make steps in the right direction.
Next, David is still too young to go to the front lines and fight Philistines, so he continues to tend his father’s sheep, as well as comfort Saul with his music. When the Philistines attack Israel, Goliath, their champion, dares any to fight him. He promises that the winner of this one-on-one contest will take all. David comes to stand up to Goliath and kills him. David is an instant national hero and the people sing “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). More steps in the right direction you may think, but..
This make Saul jealous and so he begins to try and kill David. He throws his spear at David and then Saul seeks to be rid of David by having him killed in battle He appoints him commander of a thousand. Saul gives orders to Jonathan and all his servants that David is to be put to death (19:1), attempts to pin David to the wall with his spear a second time (19:8-10) and sends men to arrest David in his own home.
From this point on, David keeps his distance from Saul. David flee and become a fugitive.
In 2 Samuel, after nearly 15 years of waiting, most spent fleeing from Saul, David learns of Saul’s death and after mourning for them, David inquires of the Lord, seeking to learn what he should do in response to Saul’s death. God indicates that David and his men should return to the city of Hebron in the land of Judah. It is there that the men of Judah anoint David king of Judah (2 Samuel 2:1-4a).
It was another 7 years after that he became king of Israel. The lesson we learn here is this, waiting on God’s promises can be long, hard and confusing.