"I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin."
~ Psalm 38:18
The superscript for this psalm indicates that David wrote this psalm for the memorial offering. This offering was a subset portion of the grain offerings that the Israelites were commanded by God to bring. This can be read about in Leviticus chapter 2:
“When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to the LORD…he shall take from it…and the priest shall burn this as its memorial portion on the altar…a pleasing aroma to the LORD.” (Lev. 2:1-2)
This offering was not an offering connected to the atonement for sins, but was an offering of devotion, gratitude and praise. The intended outcome of this offering was for fellowship with God, as well as for unity among his people. The portion of the grain offering that was not burned as a memorial portion was given to the priests for their sustenance. No grain offering was to contain or be made with leaven (Lev. 2:11), but it was to be seasoned with salt (Lev. 2:13).
You will quickly note, though, that David speaks much about sin, and the immense magnitude of his sin in this psalm (v.3-8, 16-18). This is because as humans, whenever we come near to the Holy God, our sin stands out in stark contrast. We feel the weight of our sin. As Isaiah said (Isaiah 6:5), we feel our woe, we are undone, our lostness is fully realized.
We no longer follow the Mosaic Law with its commands for offerings, but we do observe the Lord’s Table, which itself is a memorial meal, a time of devotion, gratitude and praise. And we too, as we approach Communion with our Savior, are confronted with the reality of our sin and sinfulness, and it should weigh heavy. But not for long! Because for those who are in Christ Jesus, you have been invited to his table, all of the burden of our sin has been removed and placed on Jesus. By the grace of God we are forgiven and his wrath has been poured out on Christ at the cross.
Because of Jesus, God will not forsake nor be far away (v.21), he will not rebuke in anger nor will he discipline in wrath (v.1). He will answer (v.15), he will make haste to help (v.22); for he is our salvation (v.22)!
As you read, consider your sin, consider the cross, and consider the resurrection hope found in Jesus. Be grateful, be devoted and give praise to our God with me.