If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish…
To use aright the grace of the burnt-offering requires, whilst we remain in the flesh, continued watchfulness: else we may sit down under the shadow of its mercies and slumber. When protection in the earth was by the especial gift of God granted to Cain, the opportunities which that protection gave were instantly used by him against God. It may be said, what else could be expected from the unregenerate heart of Cain? But it must be remembered that unregenerate energies are still found in the flesh even of the regenerate. "In our flesh no good thing dwelleth," but sin — essential sin — is there. "The flesh lusteth against the spirit." And although the protection vouchsafed to Cain was a temporary mercy only, and although no burnt-offering spread the power of its acceptance over his guilty head, and therefore in him unregeneracy might be expected to work and to bring forth its proper fruits, yet what shall we say of another — him who is first mentioned in Scripture as standing by the side of a burnt-offering altar? Noah offered whole burnt-offerings, and the Lord smelled a sweet savour of rest and made a covenant of blessing, and under it Noah rested: but to what did he devote his energies? To planting a vineyard for himself and cherishing its fruits, till he drank the wine thereof and became drunken and dishonoured. Can there be any other result, when the Church, forgetting its high and separate calling, finds its chief present use of the grace of redemption, in trying to sanctify to itself mere earthly joys? It was otherwise with the Apostle Paul. Who knew, as he, the value of the burnt-offering and the joy of its acceptance? Yet to him, "to live was Christ"; and he laboured on till he could say, "I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished my course with joy." And why this difference? It was because the apostle better understood that the only true place of blessing was "the new creation." His soul followed, as it were, the offering to the place into which its sweet savour ascended — even above the heavens.
(B. W. Newton.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.