Take It Away!

Have you ever reread a good book? Why? Was it because you wanted to relive the characters? thought you might have missed something the first time? hoped it would add value to your life?

Are you in the majority who has not returned to a good book? Was the feeling after once finishing it satisfying enough? With your praise you may have given the good book to someone else. Possibly, you put it on a bookshelf or in a box with your other good books, where they will age together and pass out of vogue. Someday another generation–uninterested–may pile them in a chancy stack destined for The Salvation Army. There they may or may not be revived.

There is one book, however, that by its very nature will never pass away. People have been drawn to it throughout the ages. They have read and reread its pages looking for real life answers. Something they can take away to make sense out of chaos. Often called the Good Book, the Holy Bible enriches the reader, for it is vibrant and personally piercing.

Within its timeless pages searching minds and hearts are forever uncovering new insights and hope. Was that true for you during the past nine posts while exploring God’s eight double knocks? Did you take away a new thought? a new concept? a new understanding? I did and have selected a takeaway from each double knock to share:

Abraham! Abraham!

God is never late.

Jacob, Jacob

God might lead us out of our comfort zone.

Moses! Moses!

God uses our past.

Samuel! Samuel!

God's purpose includes children.

Martha, Martha

Take time to reassess priorities.

Simon, Simon

Spiritual battles are taking place that humans are not privy to.

My God, My God

Even Jesus asked God, "Why?"

Saul, Saul

A person can change.

If you took away something else or want to expand on the ones above, please don’t hesitate to share in the comment area below.

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Who Heard God’s Fifth Double Knock?

The Bible records only eight times when God reiterates someone’s name. Four were spoken in the Old Testament era:  to Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses, and to Hannah. A thousand years later, Jesus–God with skin on–repeated the name of a frantic hostess.

Near and far Martha was praised as the hostess with the mostest. She was the epitome of Miss Hospitality. Entertaining was her passion, and she immersed herself in it. She oozed with management and organizational skills. Not to mention money.

A wealthy widow, she could well afford to give lavish dinner parties without a smidgen of restraint. Oh, how she loved every part of the planning and preparation and presentation! That is, until today.

Today’s extravagant meal had gone to pot. The heightened hustle-and-bustle sounds were grating on her nerves. The permeating culinary aromas turned her stomach. Simply put, her usual joy had withered like a drying fig.

The chief kitchen servant had suddenly taken ill, throwing her schedule off and leaving her shorthanded. Martha’s sister had offered to help. And she did stuff the dates. But where were the pickled olives she had sent her for? The hors d’oeuvre trays had to be set up next. They were already half an hour late. How was she going to get everything done?

And where was Mary? That girl! She could never depend on her to finish anything. Not an ounce of responsibility in her! Her head was always in the clouds.

Maybe this was her fault. Maybe years ago she should have let her stand on a stool and stir the lentils instead of shooing her outside time and again to play. But she wanted the child to know carefree fun. Soon enough she would meet the sorrows and demands of adulthood.

There! She found her! She wouldn’t have if James and John hadn’t stepped apart at that moment. But there Mary was as if she had nothing better to do than leisurely sit at the feet of the guest of honor and look up at him with saucer eyes. Martha’s immediate urge was to order her sister back to the kitchen. But she knew she wouldn’t because she couldn’t.

She had never been able to deny the girl anything since their parents’ tragic death. No, she couldn’t do it. However, there was someone, she quickly calculated, who could.

Untying the towel hanging from her waist, she tossed it over a clay jar and dashed into the courtyard. She sliced a zigzagged path through the pressing crowd until she reached Jesus.

And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me” (Luke 10:40 ESV ).

Jesus, perfectly understanding his hostess’ anxiety, prefaced the answer with a double knock created in love and concern:

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42 ESV).

Martha’s frenzied spirit heard Jesus’ double knock saying, “I do care about you. I pity you. And I am now going to gently correct you.”
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You’ll Find It Eight Times in the Bible

Eight times in the Bible God speaks the one-on-one double knock.

“Double knock” is how F. B. Meyer (1847-1929)–pastor and author–described God’s repeating a person’s name to get that one’s undivided attention. What God was about to say was important, and He wanted the person he had singled out to be aware of its heightened seriousness. When God doubled the person’s name, He was essentially saying, “Listen up.”

Double Knock #1

Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:10-12 NIV)

Hold on! Abraham was about to kill his only son because God had told him to do it (Genesis 22:2). When he reached the point of no return, Abraham proved he would obey God no matter the cost–even if that meant his most precious earthly possession. But God did not require the sacrifice. What He wanted was Abraham’s willingness to be faithful and obedient to Him. God is number one.

Double Knock #2

And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.” (Genesis 46:2-4 ESV)

Jacob was scared. He had started a life-changing journey. But wasn’t he too old to be moving to a new country? a new culture? a new language? Shouldn’t he go back and die in his homeland–the land promised to his grandfather Abraham? Jacob needed God’s confirmation he was following His will, and God gave it. God confirms His direction.

Double Knock #3

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:4 NIV)

God was going to offer Moses an earth-shattering job, but first He had to get him ready to listen. God knows how to get our attention.

Double Knock #4

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
(1 Samuel 3:10 NIV)

On the fourth occurrence Samuel did not again mistake the voice he heard as coming from Eli, the priest. The twelve-year-old listened intently as God apprised him of the judgment that would befall Eli’s household. Children are not exempt from knowing God’s business.

Double Knock #5

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

In loving-kindness Jesus corrects Martha. She was so busy doing for Jesus that she was missing out on the pleasure of His company. Enjoy Jesus!

Double Knock #6

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32 NIV)

As He had with Martha, Jesus sought to soothe a troubled heart. In Simon Peter’s case, however, his was yet to come. God is in our future.

Double Knock #7

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (Matthew 27:45-46 NIV)

God the Son had carried out perfectly God the Father’s plan for His earthly life. Why the divine desertion? No one knows. But somehow during the three-hour darkness, the obedient Son felt utterly alone–totally abandoned by His Heavenly Father. We, too, may have periods of dark desperation when we cry, “Lord, I have done all you asked of me; why this?” Jesus’ sufferings pass all understanding.

Double Knock #8

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4 NIV)

Like Moses’ experience, a spectacular event captured Saul’s attention. This was Saul’s spotlighted moment of decision to resist or to yield to Jesus Christ. God lets us decide whether to get into business with Him or not.

Why the urgency of the double knock in the above lives? Visit here in the coming weeks to open those doors.

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