Seven is a common number in the Bible.
God created for six days, and on the seventh, seeing that His work was completed, He rested. So, the Sabbath Day, the day of rest, occurs every seven days. Noah was sealed in the Ark for seven days before the rains began, and he took seven pairs of “clean” animals into the ark for food and sacrifices. Jacob worked seven years for Leah and seven more years for Rachel. Pharaoh’s dreams, interpreted by Joseph, were of seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Two of Israel’s holiest holidays, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles, each lasted for seven days. The nation marched around Jericho for seven days, and seven times on the seventh day. And, as they marched around the walled city, there were seven priests with seven trumpets leading the way.
In the New Testament, Jesus taught that we should be ready to forgive, not just seven times, but seven times seventy. He cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene. The church chose seven Deacons, and there are letters to seven churches in the Revelation.
I’m quite sure that there are at least seven more examples...
It’s curious then, that exactly seven times, God called to one of His follower’s, repeating their name twice. God planned every detail! These seven occurrences are another bit of evidence that... “All Scripture is inspired by God!” (2 Timothy 3:16).
So, let’s look at them. “Abraham, Abraham!” (Genesis 22:11) and “Jacob, Jacob!” (Genesis 46:2) are the first two occurrences of the repeated names. The third occurs at the burning bush.
Moses, raised in Pharaoh’s palace, had been forty years old when he murdered a man and then escaped into the wilderness. He had lived forty more years as a shepherd in Midian. At the ripe-old age of eighty, Moses, while tending sheep on the back-side of no-where, saw some dessert scrub-brush burst into flames. But that tender-dry bush didn’t burn up! The flames lit up the horizon, and the bush continued to burn!
“When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am” (Exodus 3:4, ESV).
God needed to do something drastic to get Moses’s attention.
We don’t know much about Moses’s sheep-herding days. He had found a wife, Zipporah, the daughter of a Midianite priest. They had a couple of boys. I wish I could write about Moses’s 40-year quest to find God, but I can’t. I think it was the other way around. I think that for 40-years God was graciously seeking Moses. I wonder about those four decades... how many times, in how many ways, had God tapped Moses on the shoulder?
At the burning bush, God finally got Moses’s attention. God had equipped Moses for a task, and God was inviting eighty-year-old Moses to start a new adventure!
So, how old is too old? When is it too late?
Think about this... What is God doing to get your attention? And, does God have an adventure planned that requires a response of faithful obedience?