(Rope Holders - Extraordinaire!)



Scripture references:
     2 Corinthians 11:32, 33
     Acts 9:17-25
     Exodus 17:8-13
     Joshua 2:15


Paul rehearses his early deliverance from Damascus authorities in this eleventh chapter of Corinthians. It was right after his conversion that he immediately started preaching that Jesus was the Son of God, and that did not sit right with the religious leaders - especially since it was they who brought Paul (then called Saul) to Damascus. Paul had letters (warrants) for the arrest of certain people who were Christ-followers, and on his journey to issue these warrants, the risen Christ appeared to him and he was converted, and became one of the "enemies" that the Jews demanded to be killed.

Paulís story of his escape out of the city of Damascus is recorded in Acts chapter 9 - the same chapter that records his encounter with the risen Christ, then his conversion, and his baptism of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by a disciple named Ananias. In verse 20, it is recorded that "straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God." People were amazed that the person who had persecuted the Church was now proclaiming the message that he had once tried to destroy (v. 21). Paul grew in strength and confounded the Jews more and more each day. This resulted in the Jews taking counsel to have him killed. (If you canít debate, argue or prove your point and win, then take out the competition - verse 23).

In verses 24 and 25, we find that the threat upon Paulís life became known and unnamed disciples took Paul at night and lowered him outside the walls of the city to the ground, and safety, below. The gates into the city were being watched and no one could go in or out without the knowledge of those who were after Paulís life.

In those days, cities were built with walls around them for protection from wild animals, and protection from enemy attacks. This particular city had their walls so thick that horses and chariots could be driven on top of them. Houses were built on top of these walls as well. It was by way of one of these houses, overhanging the walled city, that certain disciples secretly took Paul, placed him in a basket and lowered him to the safety of the ground outside the city. Remember, in Joshua 2:15, weíre told about Rehab and the two spies: "She let them down by a cord (rope) through a window: for her house was upon the town wall and she dwelt upon the wall." Like the two spies that were lowered to safety, Paul, likewise, was lowered.

We have recorded in Exodus 17:8-13, that it was right after God gave the newly delivered Jews water from the rock in Horeb, that the Amaleks came to fight for the possession of this new Oasis. Moses told Joshua to go out and fight them and that Israel would prevail. During this battle, Moses stood on a hill overlooking the battle scene and as long as his arms were raised, the battle went in the direction of Israel. But when he lowered his arms out of fatigue, the battle went the way of the Amaleks (v. 11). In verse 12, two helpers named Aaron and Hur placed a rock under Moses so he could sit on it, and then they held up his arms until the going down of the sun. The battle was won and the Amaleks left with their tails between their legs.

We all need partners. Do you know who was holding your rope when you got saved? How about that time when your spouse decided to leave? Who prayed for you? Who was holding your rope through those situations? "I got through it by myself!" some one would say. I donít think soÖ there are unnamed disciples in your life that have been holding your basket and lowering you to safety for a long, long time, and you may not even realize it.

Iím reminded of the story told of a time at the Bema Seat of ChristÖ it seems that Jesus was calling out names of those who were to receive rewards for their works done on behalf of the Kingdom. When it came to calling the person up front for this one reward, most thought surely it would go to Reverend "So-and-so" because he was known to have gotten thousands of people born again. But instead, the reward went to this little old lady who sat in the back. When asked why, Jesus replied that if it werenít for her prayers, Reverend "So-and-so" couldnít have succeeded in bringing those thousands into the Kingdom. She was his rope-holder.

Who are you holding the rope for? Do you have rope-burns to prove your devotion - your decision not to let go? Arenít you glad that someone held on to you while your battle was raging? You may be the only one holding that rope for someone else. You donít know - you have no idea how close to the ground that basket youíre holding onto is. You donít even know whatís in your basket. Do you think that those unnamed disciples who lowered Paul knew that they were holding the future two-thirds of the New Testament?

Think about the person that shared Christ with a young man who was selling shoes for a living. Do you think that individual knew that this new convert would share the Gospel with countless millions around the world? How many "Billy Grahams" have you had in your basket?

Whatís in your basket?

Is it your Pastor? Is it you? Is it your marriage, your children, or your grandchildren? Is it your situation? Or is it a loved one, or a friend that is having a rough time right now? WHO is it? WHAT is it?

Every one of us needs a rope-holder:
     ∑ Praying for us.
        ∑ Helping us.
          ∑ Supporting us.
             ∑ Loving us.
               ∑ Encouraging us.
                  ∑ Comforting us.
                    ∑ Counseling us.

Donít give up. You may be the only one holding the rope to their answer, to their safetyÖ to their deliverance. You may be the Moses in their life that will bring them out of their Egypt, or the Joshua who leads them to their Promised Land. Maybe youíre the Paul to lead them into revelation of Who they are, What they have, and What they can accomplish, in and through Jesus Christ.

You hold more than just a rope - you hold the future to someoneís life - to someone elseís Moses, Joshua, or to someone elseís Paul.

Be a rope-holder. Ü





Larry R Blackburn

© 2004 Jesus Our Surety Ministries