And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
Man is slow to respond.
1. His limited intelligence makes him slow to apprehend what is needed.
2. His imperfect sensibility makes him slow to feel the urgency of the need.
3. His feebleness of execution makes him slow to inter.pose and to effect. God is not under these limitations. His perfect readiness is seen in -
I. HIS ANTICIPATION OF OUR NECESSITIES. Providing this world for our habitation; preparing its soil and its seed; storing its coal and its metals, etc.; providing for our wants in sunshine and in rain, etc., which come without our asking for them; having all kinds of truth and knowledge ready for our inquiry; etc.
II. HIS ANSWERS TO OUR PRAYERS.
1. Sometimes literally granting our requests at the very time of our asking (Daniel 9:20, 21).
2. Always virtually meeting us with an immediate response; for when he does not grant us all we ask instantly, as he could not do with any regard to our real and spiritual interests, he does hear us and heed us, and determine in what way he will bless us.
III. HIS RESPONSE TO OUR APPEAL IN SORROW AND IN PENITENCE. There are two things in regard to which the words of our text are emphatically true.
1. When in sorrow we ask for his sympathy. When the cares, anxieties, disappointments, losses, separations of life, overtake us, then the stricken heart of man turns and looks for the healing hand of God, then the troubled child goes to his heavenly Father; and never vainly. For in the very act of an appeal, while we are yet upon our knees, before we have left the sanctuary, God has laid his kind hand upon us, Jesus Christ has spoken "peace" to our agitated spirit.
2. When in penitence we ask for his pardon. When, away in the far country of unbelief, or of wrong-doing, or of irreligion, or of unfaithfulness and Backsliding, or of indecision and procrastination, we hear the summons from the Father's home, and when we say, "I will arise and return," what happens then? A Divine readiness to receive us, even as the great Teacher has shown us. Then the Father of souls does not wait to be convinced, and to be induced to pardon and reinstate us. He comes forth to meet us; he anticipates our action; he breaks in upon our confession with his words of forgiving and accepting love (Luke 15:21, 22); he overwhelms us with the proofs of his Divine affection. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.