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 Eighth 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 Samuel. 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 spoken by God the Son from the cross. The eighth and final one was heard after Jesus’ resurrection.

What he lacked in height Saul made up for with ego. A thoroughbred with the pedigree to prove it, he didn’t prance in anyone’s shadow.

Born in a multicultural seaport and speaking three languages fluently, he could hobknob with the greatest minds. Moreover, he always carried with him the clout of being a Roman citizen by birth. In fact, at home in Tarsus he went by his Roman name, “Paul.” But in Jerusalem, where he was educated, he used his Hebrew name, “Saul.”

To have studied the law under revered Rabban Gamaliel was an accomplishment that looked good on any Jew’s resumé. Add to that the honor that Saul surpassed his peers. None of them reached his intellectual prowess, where power and position hold hands.

He had made his father proud when he followed in his footsteps and became a Pharisee. And he was glad for that. But now he would prove he was his own man and make a name for himself. No one would ever dare murmur he was riding his father’s coattails.

And he had a stake in a just cause. Too bad that Rabban Gamaliel would not join this crusade. Probably getting soft in his old age. Why else would his esteemed teacher speak of leniency for this upstart sect, advising to wait and see if it would self-destruct?

That’s not how Saul would deal with this threat to Judaism. He believed in striking while the iron is hot. The riffraff espoused dangerous heresy that must be eradicated from the world. Those dummies alleged, of all things, that a crucified felon was the prophesied Messiah!

Every fiber of Saul’s being was bound and determined to protect every letter of the law all day every day. If those heretics were allowed to change one iota, they’d soon be rewriting all the ancestral traditions. No, he would give the likes of them no breathing room. They would soon be on their way to extinction!

So Saul, brimming with vim and vigor, mercilessly persecuted the early church while sincerely believing he was doing God a service. But he was sincerely wrong.

He became the point person for the fuming mob that stoned Stephen (the first Christian martyr). Next he relentlessly tracked down and threw into prison in Jerusalem every Christian–man or woman–he could find. Spurred on by his avenging fury, Saul then cast his net farther:

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:1-4 ESV).

Stunned by the light’s brilliance, Saul fell prostrate. With his face to the ground, he heard his name called twice. The double knock spoke love and compassion, followed by the searing question, “Why are you persecuting me?”

In bewildered wonder Saul replies: “And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting”’ (Acts 9:5 ESV).

At that moment Saul changed course, and the church’s passionate persecutor became its persistent propagator.

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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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