David wrote this penitent psalm as song to be sung for the memorial offering. The memorial offering was the part of the grain offering brought to The Lord voluntarily to show devotion to Him. While most of the grain offering was given to the priests to eat, the memorial offering was burned on the altar as a pleasing aroma to The Lord. (Leviticus 2). It was not an offering to pay for sin, it as an offering of gratitude, devotion, and praise. Every week an offering was made of twelve loaves of bread and placed in the tabernacle as the showbread. Each week a portion of the grains and oil used to make those loaves was burnt as a memorial to The Lord. (Leviticus 24). These offerings, both the grain offering and the showbread were offerings which resulted in fellowship, an invitation to friendship with God and unity among His people. Today we still practice this offering as The Lord’s Supper.
When coming to The Lord for fellowship, when faced with the magnificence of who He is, David felt the weight of his sins on him. Today, when we come before the Lord to share His Communion, Lord’s Supper, or Love Feast, whichever name you give it, we too contemplate the greatness of our sins and our knowledge that we deserve punishment for them but because of God’s wonderful grace we are forgiven. Verses 1-4 read,
“O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath!
2 For your arrows have sunk into me,
and your hand has come down on me.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
4 For my iniquities have gone over my head;
like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me”
Our sins are too numerous to count. It is in our nature to respond by the flesh and therefore respond with sin. When we lean on ourselves we tend to sin. We consider ourselves before our neighbor, we lie, we covet, we curse, and we steal. But before each offering to the Lord, David and all of Israel considered their sins and confessed them to God. The only way to achieve a relationship with God is through a blood offering. Before Christ came, Israel had to make offerings regularly from sin offerings to forgive their iniquities to grain offerings for worship. But in the new covenant we have Jesus, our Savior whose one sacrifice is sufficient to forgive all our sins, past present and future. We have The Holy Spirit in us and we can respond with God’s nature rather than our own. We remember Jesus’ sacrifice by practicing the Lord’s Supper often. We memorialize that awesome gift of grace to us. Our sins separate us from The Lord and from one another. Sin is harmful to the unity we experience with God and with the body of Christ. Verses 9-11 read,
“O Lord, all my longing is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
and my nearest kin stand far off.”
Today we ponder our sin because we know there is no way we can pay the debt ourselves, and it gives us great reason to praise the Lord. Jesus gave us peace with God. We reflect on our sin, not because we need forgiveness but because of the rift it causes between us. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth exhorting them to take the Lord’s Supper more seriously. 1 Corinthians 11:17-26 reads,
“But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[ 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
Paul then gave the church instructions on how they should conduct themselves during this memorial offering to The Lord. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 reads,
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
Just as David weighed his iniquity then, we still judge ourselves, we pray and ask the Lord to reveal our sin and divisions to us. And we do something about it. Jesus talked about the memorial offering this way in Matthew 5:23-24,
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
We are not good people. We have no goodness, except what is given to us by God. It is the Father who chooses us, Jesus who gives us His righteousness, and the Holy Spirit who cultivates His nature in us. Every time we have the Lord’s Supper, our memorial offering, we remember that it is by Jesus’ sacrifice that we have peace with God and unity with our brothers and sisters. Without God we are bereft, orphans with no Father, Husband, or brothers. We are destitute sinners. We recognize that with each confession of sin. We don’t confess in order to gain forgiveness but to acknowledge and appreciate the miracle of salvation. We confess in order to bring our sins to the light and therefore stop them. Verses 15-18 read,
“But for you, O Lord, do I wait;
it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
16 For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,
who boast against me when my foot slips!”
17 For I am ready to fall,
and my pain is ever before me.
18 I confess my iniquity;
I am sorry for my sin.”
Confession is another way we achieve unity and help one another. How can we pray for one another well if we don’t know each other’s needs? James 5:13-16 says it like this,
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
It is the true Love of the Lord that even in His perfection and holiness that He saves us, forgives us, brings us near to Him, and cultivates us to be holy like Him. David acknowledged that in verses 21-22.
“Do not forsake me, O Lord!
O my God, be not far from me!
22 Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!”
Have you ever conceded your sin and confessed them to The Lord? Have you ever asked for His forgiveness and Salvation? If not, I encourage you to do so right now. Ask Him to be the Lord of your life. Give Him your burdens. Ask Him to remove your sin and make you a new person, born again as His beloved holy child. If you are unsure what to do or say I encourage you to contact me or a Believer you trust for help. Then find a Bible believing Spirit filled, Jesus preaching church and become a part of it.
Believer, do you take seriously the Lord’s Supper, remembering what Jesus did for you? Do you weigh the heaviness of your sins and praise God they are not your affliction any longer? Do you confess your sins to your brothers and sisters? I encourage you to do so.
The Salvation of the Lord is yours for the asking. The Salvation of the Lord is yours for the living.