And he said to them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves;…
When the householder is once roused by the importunity of his neighbour, he not only gives him the three loaves, for which perhaps he asked out of delicacy as the very least that would suffice, but "as many as he needeth"; enough to spread a bounteous repast. And when God delays giving, it is not only to encourage faith to press for that particular gift, but to introduce it to a larger range of gifts: to bring it to a better acquaintance with Himself, in whom are all gifts. A praying soul, in such circumstances, is like a thirsty man following up the windings of a clear, cold stream, but unable to get down to the water's edge because the banks are so steep. He walks mile after mile along the precipitous shores, and the sun is hot, and he is faint, and his thirst is aggravated by the sparkling water below; but by and by he finds himself among the springs, at the source of the stream, high up where the fountains are sheltered, and clear and exhaustless, and he bows down and drinks his fill. God is better than all His gifts, and the object of prayer is to make us acquainted with Himself. Your boy comes to you and asks you to buy him a fishing-rod; and he says, "I saw one to-day in a window, on such a street, which was just what I want. Can't I go down now and buy it?" And you say, "No, not to-day. Wait a little. You shall have your rod." And doubtless the lad is disappointed, perhaps a little sullen for the time, and a week passes and he hears nothing about his rod, and he begins to say to himself: "I wonder if father has not forgotten all about it." Then, just at the end of the week, you put into his hands a better rod than he has ever seen before, and with it a complete outfit for his sport, and the boy is overwhelmed with surprise and pleasure. And yet the main thing in all this is not that your son has received what he wanted. You meant he should have that; but the gift won, through delay, has given him a new view of his father's wisdom, and a new confidence in his affection, which makes him say, "Hereafter, when I want anything of this kind, I will leave it all to father." That is the main point gained. And so the main thing which a man gains when God at last answers his prayer with the gift which he asked, is not the gift, but the clearer consciousness that God is better than His gifts, that he has all things ill God.
(Marvin R. Vincent, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;