When my mom would get angry at me or one of my siblings, you could tell the significance of that anger based on what she would call you. If she called you by your first and middle name–oh my, you were in big trouble.
Similarly, in the Scriptures, when God calls out to people and doubles (repeats) their name, you certainly can expect that it is a moment of significance. He wants to gain somebody’s attention.
There are actually seven times in the Bible where God doubles someone’s name. He calls out “Moses, Moses” at the burning bush (Genesis 3:4) and He interrupts the sacrifice of Isaac with the shout, “Abraham, Abraham” in Genesis 22:11. Jacob hears his name repeated in a vision at night in Genesis 46:2. The young prophet, Samuel, hears his name doubled as he sleeps in the Tabernacle in 1 Samuel 3:10.
In the New Testament, Jesus admonishes Martha, calling out, “Martha, Martha,” (Luke 10:38-42). Simon Peter gets a warning after he hears “Simon, Simon” in Luke 22:31. As well, Saul’s name gets repeated in Acts 9:4 as the Lord challenges him with a key question.
No doubt, all of these examples point out that God was elevating those moments into something of serious importance. He definitely had a point to make, and He wanted to make sure His followers were listening, really listening. I think there is a message for all of us, here.
You might remember that after the third time God calls for Samuel, Samuel takes to heart this call and responds, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
We also need to respond to the impulses of God’s Spirit in a way that clearly demonstrates that we are listening, really listening. Whether the Lord tries to get our attention with powerful winds, an earthquake, a huge fire, or a gentle whisper (as He did with Elijah), we need to be listening with the intent to do what He says.
So, this week, maybe our prayer time should begin with, “Speak, Lord. You don’t have to call me twice. Your servant is listening, really listening!”
Sherry Worel is a Bible teacher at heart and lives a life of ministry. She’s been involved at Coast Hills teaching Women’s LIFE, Bible studies, online courses, devotionals, participating in Upstream conversations, and much more. Having a love for education, Sherry has over 50 years of teaching experience with schools, churches, and mission agencies. As well as earning her Master’s at Talbot Seminary, she rounded out her education with 35 years as Head of School at Stoneybrooke Christian School. Sherry is happiest with a book or fishing pole in hand.