Heartbeats of the Holy is one of those rare classics that resonates within the soul of every God-sent preacher. These words come from the reservoir of a man who had a deep heart for God. His writings remind me of the power-filled words of E.M. Bounds. You will be stirred as you ponder and digest these soul-stirring concepts. Rare is the man who can write in such a way as to make our hearts burn within us. This small volume will do precisely that!
Heartbeats of the Holy
Calling And Compulsion
The call of the Eternal must ring through the corridors of a man’s soul as clearly as the sound of the morning alarm bell calls men to their labors. The circumstances may differ, but the call is just as definite.
There is Amos, a poor herdsman, brooding deeply and solitarily amid the thin pastures of Tekoa. Rumors come his way of dark doings in high places. Wealth is breeding prodigality. Luxury is producing callousness. Injustice is rampant. Truth is fallen in the streets. As Amos mused “the fire burned,” and out on those lone wastes he heard a mysterious call and saw a beckoning hand. For him there was no alternative. “The Lord took me as I followed the flock, and said, go prophesy!”
We cannot tell how that call will come to us, or what will be the manner of its coming. It may be that the Divine constraint will be as soft and gentle as a glance. It may be that constraint will seize us with a strong and invisible grasp, as though we were in the custody of an iron hand from which we cannot escape. Isaiah wrote, “The Lord said unto me with a strong hand.” The call of God laid hold of Isaiah with a strong grip that imprisoned him like a vice. He was carried along by Divine coercion. Like Paul, “necessity was laid” upon him. He was in bonds and must obey.
It is doubtful if God regards any calling on earth as higher or more sacred than that of the ministry. Henry Ward Beecher said, in a lecture to students at Yale, “God stands at the door of the womb of nature and calls men to birth. When a quarter of man is born He says, ‘Stand aside!’ When a half of man is born He again says, ‘Stand aside!’ When three quarters of man is born He still says, ‘Stand aside!’ But when a whole man is born God says, ‘Come forth; here is my preacher!’”
Look at the titles God dignifies His preachers with. They are called Messengers, Watchmen, Workmen, Witnesses, Teachers, Pastors, Shepherds, Evangelists, Ministers, Stewards, Prophets, Ambassadors, etc. Ministers ought to feel the peculiar dignity and immeasurable importance of their work and calling, and magnify their office and make it honorable.
“No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God” (Hebrews 5:4). No ambassador appoints himself to represent his country at a foreign court. He is invited by the President or King or Emperor. So a man must wait for God’s call to preach. A mere desire to preach for the respectability of it, or the publicity or notoriety of it, is simply contemptible. “How shall they preach except they be sent?”
Our Lord did not call soft-palmed, lily-fingered, sons of pleasure to herald His saving message. He went down to the sea and called some brawny-muscled, horny-handed fisherman, used to pulling oars in the teeth of the fierce storms of Gennersaret. God called men who were real men.
Think of Paul. He may have been small in stature, but he was huge in heart. Check the astonishing list of things he endured (II Cor. 11:23-28). After naming twenty three incredible experiences, as if they were not enough, Paul added, “Besides those things … the care of ALL the churches!” That was a load greater than any reed shaken by wind could possibly endure. Yet with the weight of all the churches upon him, Paul still had the vitality to trudge along the Appian Way to Rome with fire in his eyes and conquest in his soul, and make himself such a terror to evil doers that the devil had to kill him to get rid of that all-conquering personality.
Think of that man called Martin Luther, whose words were fiery swords, who trod the field of his age like an armoured giant, the sound of whose foot-fall was heard in Rome, and made popes tremble! The magnetic influence of his masterful life is still marching on like an army with banners. Then, as always, God had His men hand-picked, and they moved onward with the awesome awareness of Divine calling and compulsion.