Moses, Moses! The Lord says.
Moses is out in the wilderness, far from human habitation. Living by himself with the foraging flocks. Sleeping under those vast, starry skies which no doubt obtained in those times. Eating stale bread. Did he hunt? Was he armed against predators besides his staff? Did he wander so far into the wilderness because he wanted to be alone? Because he was trained to look out for himself? Because he just got tired of the pointless tedium of Midianite life?
How many days in the wilderness at a time did Moses go?
He finds a bush burning endlessly, and climbs up to see a bit more, and then to his astonishment he is addressed by name.
A.W. Tozer used to preach about having a personal encounter with the Living God, and that is what Moses is having. He is having an encounter with one who knows his name already.
This is not the first time God has repeated someone’s name, nor is it the last. Abraham, Abraham! The messenger of the Lord called at the last moment. It was nearly a cry of alarm. A shout of warning to make sure Abraham’s attention was obtained and his action arrested.
Samuel, Samuel! was called at another moment. The Lord there wanted Samuel’s attention, and the occasion was also a warning. He had a warning for Eli’s house, news that would shock and amaze.
The call also comes with authority. How is Samuel instructed to respond? The reply Samuel learns indicates a receptive and submissive disposition. In Abraham’s case, the original commandment is abrogated. It would require equal or superior authority to do that.
And so I conclude that at the burning bush there was a monitory purpose. Beware of the sanctified ground! Do not approach it casually! Beware of God! Recognize that your everyday approach is inappropriate. And prepare for further instructions.
So Moses took off his sandals, having walked into the third and climactic phase of his life.
There are two further instances of something similar in Scripture. Saul, Saul! That was another arresting moment, interrupting a course of life and followed by instructions. No doubt intended to evoke a parallel to the commissioning of Moses: the commissioning of an extraordinary apostle.
The last instance is not one in which the Lord himself utters the double vocative but is actually the one addressed: Lord, Lord! Insincerely, it turns out. Not all who say to me Lord, Lord!
It is no ordinary thing to have a personal encounter with God. Blessed are those whose name God knows and calls.