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The Lord makes me as sure and nimble as a deer

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Today’s bible study is Habakkuk 3:19: The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.

This bible verse is absolutely beautiful but kind of hard to swallow. It’s not very hard for us to recognize that the Lord is our strength, but oh, how we wish we could have the nimble feet of the deer are climb to the heights without falling. We are tired. Our feet are slow and clumsy. Too often, we are fortunate just to keep putting one foot in front of the other as we go through our days. Many of us are not as nimble as we once were as children and youth and will never again be nimble at all. We consider ourselves lucky to be able to walk around the house, around the parking lot, or around the workplace. Treading on the heights is not something most of us would even consider doing.

But is this passage literally talking about our calloused and tired feet? Or is it using feet as an analogy? I believe that it is using the feet of a deer as an analogy for our spiritual feet which are unseen and are a part of our faith as Christians. The shoes that I am wearing right this moment cannot hope to be as nimble as a deer, but my spiritual feet can be as nimble as I allow the Lord Jesus Christ to make them. In my spirit, I can jump and run swiftly; I can climb the steepest hills and ascend to the greatest heights. God will allow my spirit to run free and have the strength of coursers in the night. My footing will be sure and my balance unequaled. I will run and not tire, climb and not fall, reach the heights and not lose my balance. Why? Because the Lord is guiding my feet and they are not the feet that are currently beneath my desk, but the spiritual feet that let my soul and spirit run free to the will of God.

The deer is an interesting analogy, and the deer has been used frequently in the bible as a symbol of nimble feet and running freely. Bu the deer is not the fastest land animal, not is it the most sure footed. It is surely among the most beautiful and graceful. But this is an interesting thought: in Canada and northern America there are many deer, even to the point of overpopulation. In other parts of the country and the world there are also deer, sometimes many of them. But were there deer in Bethlehem and Judea and Jerusalem? Time to do a little historical fact finding, and you might be surprised at what you find. For all the biblical references to the deer, the hart and the hind, they were not heavily indigenous to the region in which most of the Old and New Testaments are written. At the present time, deer in Jerusalem are fast becoming an endangered species.

Lastly, where are the heights? What are the heights? The heights seem to be the heights to which our hearts can aspire and our soul can reach. They are the pinnacles of spirituality that can be ascended only with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. So, may we ever climb with the nimble feet of the deer, May we ascend the heights and with the grace of God, tread upon them safely. May we never stop reaching, climbing and believing and may we be ever aware that the Lord is our strength and our salvation, now and forever.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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