While Tom & I were in Australia I had a number of opportunities to conduct my seminar Rhythms of Grace. As part of this I always get people to reflect on everyday events and encourage them to write a prayer that reflects how they have encountered God in the midst of that activity.  Here is a beautiful prayer that Kay Hebbard wrote at the seminar I conducted at the UNOH conference in Melbourne Australia.  I thought that it was very inspiring.

Kay once did some research on the close connection between the Hebrew words for hope and rope.  This research is summarized in the section at the end of the prayer.

MY HOPE, MY ROPE

O God, my hope and my rope,

I hold onto you as I climb

the mountains of my life.

When I fall, I’m never at risk

because my rope is ever attached to you.

 

O God, my hope and my rope,

You hold me secure in the storm,

anchored to Jesus my Saviour,

preventing me from drifting

into dangerous waters of fear and uncertainty.

 

O God, my hope and my rope,

You guide me along the narrow track

through the dense forest of darkness,

keeping me on the path of life

with you, even when all light is dim.

 

O God, my hope and my rope,

You dip my bucket into

the deepest wells of your goodness

and I am filled with the sweet water

of your life-giving Spirit.

 

O God, my hope and my rope,

Your cords are woven with

The Father’s love, the Son’s blood,

and the Spirit’s truth,

Hold me fast on this human journey, firmly tied to you.

 

O God, my hope and my rope,

I don’t want to keep your rope to myself.

May I share this rope with others

and let it be a life-line

for them to reach you too.

AMEN.

A Long String

Today I will attempt to illustrate a beautiful Hebrew circle of thought. My only problem is knowing where to slip into the circle so the teaching will be seamless… So I think I will begin with one of those verses which are mysteriously hard to understand, but seem like they shouldn’t be.

Psalm 19:4 “Their line has gone out through all the earth…” (NASB) (the context is, “The heavens declare the glory of God…”) Line here is from the Hebrew (KAV) – a line or cord. The root of this is (KAVAH) – to bind together, collect, expect; hope; linen yarn. What do hope and a rope have to do with each other? When I say to someone, “Throw me a line!” I am (usually) speaking figuratively and I mean, “Give me some hope here!”

(TIKVAH) is a common derivative of this root, meaning “hope”. There is another interesting derivative: (MIKVEH), which is translated as “hope” in passages such as Jeremiah 17:3 “O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You will be put to shame…” (NASB). There are several other instances in Jeremiah where (MIKVEH) is found in the same phrase. The interesting thing is, a “mikveh” is more commonly known as a pool of water where one becomes ceremonially clean (i.e. like a full-dunk baptismal, except you immerse yourself; the attendant is only a witness.) So not only is it a hope, but a cleansing.

Is this a stretch? Consider then Ezra 10:2 which reads, “We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.” Same word, mikveh, and the context is that of cleansing the people from sin. So the Hope of Israel is also the Cleanser of Israel, a Mikveh into which we must immerse ourselves to find freedom from sin.

Bringing us back to Psalm 19:4, what is the “line” or “rope” of the Heavens? The Messiah, the Hope of Israel, who cleanses us before God. Perhaps it was this concept of which Paul was thinking when he wrote in Romans 8:20-21 “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (NASB) The Heavens also wait in hope for the Messiah to come and restore it to its former glory.

 

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