Batter My Heart – Fisherman and Hunter

Batter My Heart – Fisherman and Hunter

There are many examples of Batter My Heart. As I said, it’s the story of us all. It’s the story of the child of God. All of us have been sheep that have gone astray. And we all also need to be rescued by our Shepherd. The Bible says “ALL we like sheep” (Isaiah 53:6), which means all of us. And His rescuing is by catching, overtaking, ravishing—essentially, battering our hearts.

I think that the word “batter” is the stumbling block. Batter conjures up wife beating, like a battered wife. But for Donne I think it references his awareness of his true human condition, as well as his need for God’s deep passionate pursuit.

Fisherman and Hunter

Fisherman and Hunter Batter My Heart
Either God catches us like a fish with a hook (enticing and wooing) or He hunts us like game (force to break, overthrow, imprison). The end result is the same – God gets His man. The interesting thing about Donne’s Batter My Heart sonnet is that it references God’s many degrees and intensities of pursuing us. Batter My Heart: knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend; o’er throw, bend, break, blow, and burn; imprison, enthrall, and ravish me. I don’t know about you but I have experienced all of these. Sometimes my movement towards Him is achieved with a light breeze, while at other times a forceful gale is needed. And sometimes I need a destructive house-lifting act of God.

Now, I will send for many fishermen, says the Lord, and they shall fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks.
Jeremiah 16:16 MEV

God Gets His Man

Hunter and Fisherman Batter My Heart
Our God caters His captivating of us by fitting it to our circumstances and who we are. I’ve heard Martha quote someone a few times about God’s pursuit. Today Jennifer found it for me and I wanted to share it with you. I think it is applicable to this post. It’s from a preacher named J. Vernon McGee:

The deacons were interviewing a little boy for membership in their church. They asked, “How did you get saved?” The boy answered, “God did His part, and I did my part.” The deacons were not so sure what the boy meant by that answer, so they questioned further. The boy explained what he meant by his answer: “God did the part of saving, and I did the part of sinning. I ran from God as fast as I could, and God took out after me until He finally ran me down.”


Batter My Heart – I’m a Gomer

 Batter My Heart – I’m a Gomer
In my life I have met more Gomers (the whoring wife of Hosea) than Snow Whites (a fairytale). And by John Donne’s own words, I think he would’ve fallen in line as a Gomer – those who lean with a desire to have many lovers. You see, John Donne knew he had to be overthrown and ravished. He was self-aware of his propensity to waywardness. He also knew God was the only One who could capture and keep his heart.

“Batter my heart, THREE-PERSONED GOD.” Funny thing, I am out-numbered. This battle is literally Three against one. And though He won’t violate our free will, He does know just how to get me to scream, “Uncle!”


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    • Paul

      Loving this series, John…thank you so much for putting into words the condition and the cry of the heart that is after God.

      “Three against one”!! Oh yes..Selah!!

      • shulamite

        Thank you Paul for enjoying it! These posts have really been good for me too.

    • Winnie Starnes

      The severity of God’s love is relentless in His continued pursuit of us . Thank you John for sharing the deep love of God.

      • shulamite

        Amazing how we define love versus how God expresses it. Bless you Winnie!

    • Marsela

      I love the little boy’s explanation. I did what I do best… God did what he does best…
      In the end we will have nothing to contribute, and nothing to boast about, none. It’s all His doing, the wooing, the disciplining, the capturing and the keeping. Mine is the ability to respond, yes, I am created with that, I’m not a robot, but the doing is His, not mine.

      Yes, we are all Gomer (spiritually speaking) just by being human. We are born like that, with idols in our heart, and keep creating more as we go. The flesh specializes in that. The only solution is the cross, nothing else. And the Lord specializes in that. There is a tailor made for each of us…

      • shulamite

        There is such incredible peace and joy in the fact that I attribute nothing but a YES! It increases my love. “I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

    • shulamite

      Per chance someone shared this text, and I inmediately remembered your series and the passion of a “battered heart”. You probably know this:

      Hosea 13:7-9
      So I will be to them like a lion, like a leopard I will lurk beside the way. I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will tear open their breast, and there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild beast would rend them. I will destroy you, O Israel; who can help you? But in Me is your help…


      • shulamite

        Perfect Sam, just perfect!

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