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.

9781490808949_COVER.indd

WHO HEARD GOD’S SIXTH 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. Jesus used the next double knock on Simon Peter.

The apostles were embroiled in a heated dispute. It wasn’t the first time they had argued who rightfully should be number one in Jesus’ kingdom. But tonight there was a sense of urgency in the air. Jesus had just said this was His last Passover supper with them. Then He followed up with talk about the kingdom of God coming. What better time than now to settle this ranking question once and for all!

Peter was in the thick of it. And why not? He was no pushover. Confident. (Some would argue he was more, well, cocky.)

On more than one occasion, Jesus had pulled him aside, along with James and John, for special revelations. What could that mean but that the Teacher was grooming him for His top man?

Peter prided himself on his natural abilities. Organizational skills. Hardworking. Persistent. Responsible. Ambitious. Self-motivated. He could smell a good deal and haul it in. In fact, when he first met the Messiah, he was already a respected partner in a profitable fishing business.

Obviously, Jesus had recognized his potential right away. Otherwise, He wouldn’t have said what he did the first time the two met:  “Jesus looked steadily at him and said, ‘You are Simon, the son of John. From now on your name is Cephas’—(that is, Peter, meaning ‘a rock’)” (John 1:42 Phillips).

Admittedly, Peter did possess some admirable qualities. But humility was not one of them–yet. That would begin taking shape the next time a rooster crowed the dawn of a new day.

Meanwhile, Jesus once again spent time with the apostles defining “importance”:

Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up the greatest. But Jesus intervened: “Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It’s not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant” (Luke 22:25-26 MSG).

Then Jesus spoke the double knock to Peter:  “‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat”’ (Luke 22:31 ESV).

As with Martha’s double knock, Jesus comingled love and concern. But why did Jesus use the birth name, Simon, instead of Peter, the name He had conferred on him at their first meeting? Was it because this apostle had not yet become rock solid? Or was it because Jesus wanted him to remember where he had come from? Or was it something else?

Interestingly, merely three verses later in the same conversation, the Messiah does call him “Peter” when predicting the apostle’s upcoming denial. Was Jesus making a contrast between a weak Simon and a strong Peter? Was He offering Peter hope for the future? Or again, was it something else?

There are two parts to what follows this double knock. First Jesus informs Simon that “‘Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat.”’ Both uses of “you” are plural. Thus, taking Peter into His confidence, Jesus gives him the heads-up that all of the apostles–not just him–will be attacked by Satan.

However, what He tells Peter on the heels of that is not inclusive. The second part of Jesus’ message applies exclusively to Peter, for in it Jesus uses the singular “you” throughout:  “‘But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers”’ (Luke 22:32 ESV).

Peter would become the leader that Jesus could use.
9781490808949_COVER.indd

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.

9781490808949_COVER.indd