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Repeating Names

We might miss the strength of these statements (Matt. 7:21-23 and here) unless we realize that repeating a person’s name is a Hebrew expression of intimacy. When God speaks to Abraham at Mount Moriah, as he is about to plunge the knife into the breast of Isaac, He says, “Abraham, Abraham.” Or when God encourages Jacob in his old age to take the trip to Egypt, He says, “Jacob, Jacob” (Genesis 22:11, 46:2). Compare the call of Moses from the burning bush: “Moses, Moses,” or the call of Samuel in the night, “Samuel, Samuel” (Exodus 3:4; 1 Sam. 3:10). Or consider David’s cry of agony, “Absalom, Absalom,” and Jesus’ cry of desolation on the cross, “My God, my God.” (2 Samuel 18:33; Matt. 27:46). When Jesus confronted Martha, when He warned Peter, and when He wept over Jerusalem—in each case we find the word repeated for intimacy’s sake (Luke 10:41; 22:31; Matt. 23:37). Some pretend to have a deep relationship with Christ, but this claim is not borne out in their lives. There are many who say, “Lord, Lord,” while in fact they live in contempt for Christ’s commandments. “If you love me, you will obey what I command,” said Jesus (John 14:15).

Tabletalk, April, 1990, p. 18