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.


Who Heard God’s Seventh 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 Martha’s name and, at the Last Supper, Simon Peter’s.

The seventh double knock was a terrorizing cry, the likes of which has never been heard on earth before or since. In unprecedented anguish God the Son’s heart wrung out a cry to God the Father:  “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”’ (Matthew 27:46 HCSB).

Before nails were pounded into His hands and feet, Jesus had spent a sleep-deprived night being hustled to kangaroo courts, spit on, beaten, mocked, scourged, and crowned with a wreath of thorns pressed down into his head. The next three hours His mutilated body suffered the commonly known horrific tortures of a delayed-death crucifixion. Those watching were well aware that the victim’s slightest twitch or gasp meant excruciating pain.

But Jesus’ worst suffering was yet to be. So terrible, in fact, that by an act of God no one on earth saw it:  “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the whole land” (Matthew 27:45 HCSB). God the Father draped His Son in black and blocked from earthly view the approaching misery, where grieving of mind is harder to bear than bodily pain.

In the midday midnight transpired the incomparable suffering of all time. Perfect Jesus was made sin (not sinful). Giving up His own identity, Jesus became the personification of sin. As such, He was in combat with the diabolic forces of spiritual darkness. When His spirit wrestled, struggled, and fought those evil powers, the innocent Savior endured the abysmal agony intended for the damned and doomed.

Jesus had understood and accepted God’s mission to be the world’s sin-bearer. Every step he had taken was in obedience to fulfilling that purpose. So it had never crossed His mind that God would forsake Him at the end. Rather, just the opposite, as He had assured the apostles:  “‘A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me’” (John 16:32 NIV).

He knew ahead of time that Judas Iscariot would betray Him and that Simon Peter would deny Him. He wasn’t surprised, either, that the apostles fled from the garden when the soldiers made the arrest. Shortly before they hunted Him down, Jesus had suffered through His Gethsemane battle without prayer support. However, that human loneliness, when He aligned His will with God’s will, was nothing like this.

Then He was not destitute of God’s presence. What was happening while on the cross–divine desertion–the Suffering Servant had never ever known or expected.

Why, Jesus desperately pierces the thick darkness, would God abandon Him–leave Him alone and desolate when He needed His presence the most? He was following God’s will to the nth degree. Why the isolation? What had He done?

At other times His Father had affirmed approval. First at His baptism:  “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:17 NIV); then  at the transfiguration:  “And a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’” (Matthew 17:5 NIV).

All along His earthly road, Jesus carried the inner security that God was happy with Him. So much so that He included it in His temple teachings:  “‘The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, because I always do what pleases Him’” (John 8:29 HCSB).

Yes, God deserted because He was displeased. But not with His Son. God was displeased with sin, and that displeasure came with a price. The Savior must drink all of the cup of sin’s punishment. Complete separation from God was the last drop.

Thus the Man of Sorrows paid sin’s full price for you and for me.

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.