1 Samuel 27:6-12
So Achish gave him the town of Ziklag (which still belongs to the kings of Judah to this day), and they lived there among the Philistines for a year and four months.
David and his men spent their time raiding the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites—people who had lived near Shur, toward the land of Egypt, since ancient times. David did not leave one person alive in the villages he attacked. He took the sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys, camels, and clothing before returning home to see King Achish.
“Where did you make your raid today?” Achish would ask.
And David would reply, “Against the south of Judah, the Jerahmeelites, and the Kenites.”
No one was left alive to come to Gath and tell where he had really been. This happened again and again while he was living among the Philistines. Achish believed David and thought to himself, “By now the people of Israel must hate him bitterly. Now he will have to stay here and serve me forever!”
O: Look what this "man after God's own heart" did! He lied to King Achish who had given him shelter from King Saul who had wanted to kill him. He attacked and massacred villages that did nothing against him, committing genocide upon those villagers. How can this be a "man after God's own heart"? He had shown no remorse or repentance for any of these horrible acts that today would have had him condemned in a United Nations war crime tribunal.
What, indeed, did God reprimand him for? For one adulterous affair with Bathsheba, for one murder of Bathsheba's husband, Uriah the Hittite. (2 Samuel 11-12).
Why was that? Why did God overlook monstrous crimes where large numbers of people were massacred, and make such a big deal about one single case of adultery and one single case of murder?
I think the answer lies in what God could expect David to know about right and wrong. It was acceptable in David's time and culture to attack foreign villages and rape, plunder and kill them. But David knew full well it was wrong for him to steal the wife of a friend and murder him.
It was not that David's sins which he did not know were sins had no consequences. God forbade David from building the Temple because of the blood on his hands. (1 Chronicles 22:8) However, God did not expect David to repent of sins he did not know were sins.
A: I have been teaching my daughter Joni about confession and repentance before partaking of Holy Communion lately. One of the things that a spiritually-attuned child might worry about is "What if I forget to confess some sin before I take Holy Communion? Will I be then guilty of the body and blood?"
The example of how God dealt with David is one of the pieces of evidence that God does not expect us to confess and repent of sins we are not aware of. If at some point, He teaches us that something we had been doing in the past is wrong, we can confess and repent of it. Meanwhile, He only expects us to confess and repent of what sins we do know about.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) The blood of Jesus covers all our sins, whether we know them to be sin or not.
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
P: Father, thank You so much for Your grace and mercy upon us. Thank You for sending Jesus to pay for our sins and bring us into Your family. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)