The Hound of Heaven – Campbell Bond
And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
The role of the Holy Spirit towards the believer is summed up succinctly by Christ with the wonderful word of Helper (Jn 14:6, 26; 15:26, 16:7). The Holy Spirit comes alongside the believer and helps them to live a God centred, God empowered life. Conversely the Holy Spirits role towards those outside of a real relationship with Christ is vastly different and is encapsulated in the above mentioned verse. The Holy Spirit role in this regard can be likened to that of a bloodhound.
The Bloodhound is a large scent hound, originally bred for hunting deer, wild boar, and since the middle ages for tracking people. This breed is famed for its ability to discern human scent over great distances, even days later. It’s extraordinarily keen sense of smell is combined with a strong and tenacious tracking instinct, producing the ideal scent hound, and it is used by police and law enforcement all over the world to track escaped prisoners, missing people, lost children and lost pets.
Like a blood hound dog the Holy Spirit can be likened to the Hound of Heaven in His relentless pursuit of Gods estranged children.
Years ago a certain family member who we had been in prayer for for years for their salvation ended up surrendering his life to Christ and getting wonderfully saved. During a seven year period we had repeatedly asked the Lord to chase this family member down, remove any false sense of peace, get into their mind and heart, there conscious and sub conscious realm, to convict them of their unintelligent and selfish lifestyle and to convince them of the love and willingness of God to forgive them. Upon there conversion this family member remarked to us, “I could feel the effect of your prayer!”
Obviously we prayed because we believed in the power of prayer but such a statement helped me to realise how our prayer are tremendously used by God in the eventual salvation of people’s souls. There has never been an unwillingness on the part of God to save people sould. The scriptures are clear that God desires all men to be saved (2 Pet 3:9), but the un willingness exists on the side of non-Christian people in being unwilling to turn from their sins and surrender to the Lordship of Christ. (John 3:19-20) God certainly doesn’t arbitrarily choose some to be saved and damn the rest. The call is to open to whoever. (Jn 3:16) What our prayers do though, is through divine human cooperation, allows God to have a greater moral influence upon the hearts and minds of the unbeliever. The more we pray the more the Holy Spirit, the hound of heaven can move upon the hearts and minds of the non-believer and strongly influence them to consider their ways and surrender there lives into God gracious hands. It must be noted that this is an influence upon the persons mind and never a direct causation. An influence can be rejected or accepted as God will never make anyone love Him against their will. People can and do harden their hearts against the loving and drawing power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 7:51)
I find it encouraging to know that as I pray for non-Christian people that the Holy Spirit will take those prayers and begin to go where I could never, into the deepest chambers of that individuals heart and mind and begin to convict, convince and exert a strong moral influence upon them that will hopefully lead them to surrender. In this sense by praying for a certain individual over another it enables God to be un arbitrarily arbitrary towards that person. They have a much greater chance of getting saved if I pray than if I don’t. Prayer moves the hand that moves the world. Prayer doesn’t just change things it changes people by influencing them to do what is right. So let’s pray, pray, pray and as we do, realise that we are cooperating with the Holy Spirit, the blessed and mighty third person of the Holy Trinity, by releasing HIM to be the hound of heaven and pursue lost people until they surrender to the loving embrace of Christ.
Without God we cannot and without us, God will not.