Who Heard God’s Third Double Knock?

The Bible records only eight times when God reiterates someone’s name. The first time was to Abraham. Skipping a generation, He spoke the next one to Abraham’s grandson, Jacob. More than four hundred years elapsed before God chose the opportune place and time for another double knock.

No doubt, many people thought of Moses as a has-been. He may have believed it of himself. After all, he had been raised in the royal lap of luxury and privilege. He had been carefully schooled and groomed for greater things than herding sheep in a foreign desert–and for his father-in-law to boot! This life was so far from where he had been headed.

Those youthful dreams were snuffed out when he murdered a man and, in blind terror, had to flee Egypt for parts unknown. But he had made do in Midian. Married a daughter of the local priest. Fathered two sons. Learned a new profession (if you could call it that). When he came home tired and dirty, he walked into a tent, not a palace.

Who cared that he had once been a respected and admired prince of whom great things were presumed? Who cared that he was overqualified for this shepherd work? Who cared that it was a job with no future? Moses heard who cared on a day when his curiosity got the better of him.

It was a strange phenomenon he saw: a burning bush that did not burn up. Moses stepped away from the sheep for a close look.

When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am” (Exodus 3:4 ESV).

The double knock stopped Moses in his tracks. This Voice calling his name twice knew everything about him–past and present. Moses was all ears. As he listened with rapt attention, God laid out his future:

“Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10 ESV).

The rest is history.

Burned Out

That was the last straw. Six hundred thousand able-bodied men bawling about their rations like self-centered children. First they grumbled they didn’t have enough to eat. Now that they had plenty, they complained about the taste. Said it was boring. He was sick and tired of their murmured cravings for fish, melons, leeks, and garlic from the old country.

It was the same-o same-o with those guys–never satisfied. He was fed up with the lot of them. They had pushed him too far this time, and he was quitting!

From the beginning he knew this job was too big for him. He never wanted it, anyway. He wasn’t even looking for the job; the job found him. He had grown accustomed to the simple life where he had escaped and long ago shelved the youthful grooming for a leadership role in the other society.

During the surprise thrust-upon-him interview, he had tried to make it clear he was not qualified. All his objections, however, were overcome–even when he stammered he had a speech impediment. The quick retort:  His brother would be appointed his spokesman. As soon as he was on the job, he had to manage one thorny touch-and-go situation after another; but today he reached his limit. Face it, he was burned out.

In such a frame of mine, the despondent leader admitted defeat to I am, the God Who Is Always Present–the One who had picked him for the job. Sucked into self-pity, Moses desperately voiced his complaint:  “I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness” (Numbers 11:14-15 ESV). But Moses’ quick fix, assembled in despondency, was not God’s solution.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone'” (Numbers 11:16-17 ESV).

The God Who Is Always Present does not insulate Himself from His creation. When we come to the end of ourselves, Almighty God will show us the way out or through. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22 ESV).

I am will hear the smallest whisper of a prayer. “Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am’” (Isaiah 58:9 ESV).


A Close Look

He’d been doing this job for forty years, and what he now saw was a first for him. That desert shrub was still afire. It should have been consumed. Why wasn’t it? Curiosity getting the better of him, the shepherd decided to take a close look.

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

In their ensuing conversation God, for the first time, revealed his personal name. “Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” Then what shall I tell them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, “The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.” This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation'” (Exodus 3:13-15 NIV).

In saying that His personal name is I am, God was disclosing He is the God Who is always present. Never absent. Forever involved with humankind to correct and to bless such as the time He sent poisonous snakes because people grumbled about their living circumstances. When they reached their tipping point and abjectly admitted to Moses they were in the wrong to speak against him and God, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’ So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived” (Numbers 21:8-9 NIV).

Anyone who wanted to be delivered from certain death by snake bite must look up at the bronze snake on that pole. Not a nod or a passing, casual glance, however, but a fixed, riveting gaze.  This was serious business. Whoever looked closely–intently–lived!

More than a millennium had passed when Jesus Christ raised the image higher. Predicting His inevitable crucifixion, He said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up” (John 3:14 NIV). Later the Savior promised:  “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32 NIV). When, like a magnet, Jesus Christ pulls us, it is our decision whether or not to take a close look.

While praying one day, a girl asked,
“Who are You, Lord?”
He answered, “I Am.”

“But Who is I Am?” she said.

And He replied, “I Am Love, I Am Peace,
I Am Grace, I Am Joy,
I Am The Way, The Truth, and The Life,
I Am The Comforter,
I Am Strength, I Am Safety,
I Am Shelter, I Am Power, I Am The Creator,
I Am The Beginning and The End,
I Am The Most High.”

The girl with tears in her eyes looked
Toward heaven and said,
“Now I understand.
But Lord, Who Am I?”

Then God tenderly wiped the tears
From her eyes and whispered,
“You are Mine.”