What is a rope? According to Wikipedia, a rope is a linear collection of plies, yarns or strands which are twisted or braided together in order to combine them into a larger and stronger form. Ropes have tensile strength and so can be used for dragging and lifting, but are far too flexible to provide compressive strength. As a result, they cannot be used for pushing or similar compressive applications. Rope is thicker and stronger than similarly constructed cord, line, string, and twine.
Pay very close attention to the definition above because I’ll be using it as a point of reference throughout the post. For the sake of argument, we are going to use rope as a metaphor for something that you or I may be struggling with within our flesh. My scripture of reference comes from the book of Daniel chapter 3. This is the story of the three Hebrew boys.
The definition above describes what makes a rope and also lists two uses for a rope…dragging and lifting. The definition also closely relates rope with strength. If we look around or dig into our memories, we can find many other uses for rope besides just dragging and lifting. One of the uses for rope not mentioned above is ” for binding.” Maybe it’s not mentioned because its not a popular use. We associate bounding by rope as criminal. In today’s society, no one needs to be bound by rope but if there weren’t any handcuffs or chains around, rope would be the next best and most effective method of bondage to one who commits a crime.
In this post we are going to see rope as a tool for bondage, we are going to refer to rope as situations in your life that has held you from having that true and intimate relationship with God and has held you in a state shame and embarrassment. We see rope being used in a game of tug of war. One team pulling against the other and whoever loses gets pulled into a pit of mud. Losing the fight with your bondage, losing the fight with that thing that keeps you tied up will pull you into a pit of depression and devastation. We see rope in a boxing match, laying out the boundaries, dictating how far you can go. And don’t you get caught against the ropes, you might think it’s safe because depending on the rope will get you backed in a corner and knocked out. If you lived in the United States during the 1910’s or 20’s or 30’s, you would’ve seen rope being used in a more inhumane manner. Not in a game of tug of war, but in a game of life and death. Rope presenting itself as it is, not disguising anything but openly becoming a symbol of hate. Each pile, each yarn, each strand come together with collective strength to take the life of another human being. To restrict movement and deny freedom by means of being wrapped around the neck. Rope is not a symbol of freedom, rope is not symbol of hope, rope takes freewill and rope takes goodwill.
The story of the three Hebrew boys included a rope. After they had refused to bow down, they were bounded by rope and was now to meet their fate. To understand the faith of these boys you would have to go back to chapter one. They had just gotten to Babylon and their names were changed. Their Hebrew names were taken away and replaced with idol names. Now Babylon represented bondage, so they were further bounded by ropes while they were in bondage. It’s almost like being handcuffed in a jail cell. Now they had lost their names but not their identities, it is important to remember who you are when the enemy is trying to show you someone else. Yes you may have a weakness that you cannot seem to get rid of or a rope that won’t let you go. The enemy will tell you God doesn’t care, but know who you are and refuse the substitution of bowing to other things in your life. The three boys found themselves walking bound towards the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual. Why was this fire heated more than usual? That’s simple, the bible says not only were they bound, but they were bound by the most mighty men in the king’s army. The bible says in Mark 3:27, that the strong man has to be taken care of first before any goods can be spoiled. That means God had to take care of the root of your bondage, before He delivers you from the bondage itself. He has to take that guy out of your life before He can deal with your insecurity, He has to move that job away from you before He can deal with your commitment issues. The fire is not heated seven times hotter for you, it may feel like it at the time but trust God, it’s not for you, it’s for the strong men. Have you ever read the verse; what the devil meant for evil, God meant for good? Now God cares about your ropes but He is overly concerned about who or what’s putting the rope on you. His intention is to free you in the fire, but He also has to make sure that whatever keeps binding you up is taken care of first, so that when He frees you, no one is there to pull you back into bondage. Now Job 23:10 says “when He has tried me, I shall come forth as pure gold.” Gold is made pure in a furnace and the furnace may represent a painful place and an excruciating process but the end result is purity. The mighty men that bound you, cannot stand in the presence of a Holy God, they will fall down dead because what’s meant to free you is meant to kill them. No more bondage, no more weaknesses, no more not knowing who you are. The fire seems daunting, the process seems to make no sense, but God promises us that we will not get burnt in the fire, because its not meant to burn us, it’s meant to burn our ropes.