Like hinds’ feet: What does it mean?

 

Habakkuk 3--17-19

The Verse of the Day for June 8, 2014 offers encouraging words from Habakkuk 3:19 (New Living Translation):

The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. (For the choir director: This prayer is to be accompanied by stringed instruments.)

This particular verse, the last verse of Chapter 3 of Habakkuk, paints a striking portrait of the downfall of Israel. In the midst of impending destruction, the prophet expresses confidence that the Lord will prevail over the enemy. The third chapter is a sublime song dedicated “to the chief musician,” and is,  therefore, intended apparently to be used in the worship of God.

Habakkuk offers a striking picture of Israel in the midst of total disaster: barrenness abounds in the midst of what should be fruitfulness, as the fig tree is without blossoms. He finds no fruit of the vine, and the olive presses, former symbols of prosperity, are empty. Not only have the crops failed, but cattle and sheep, other sources of livelihood, have been cut off. Despite these disastrous circumstances, the prophet declares he will rejoice:

This magnificent song of triumph crescendos with the last three verses of the final chapter of the prophetic word offered by Habakkuk, as rendered in the Amplified Bible:

17 Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls,

18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation!

19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

Complete Jewish Bible renders verse 19 in this way:

ELOHIM Adonai is my strength! He makes me swift and sure-footed as a deer and enables me to stride over my high places.

Barbara Lardinais describes this “sure-footed deer” in more detail in “The Secret of the Hind’s Feet”:

The hind is a female red deer whose home is the mountains. The rear feet of the hind step in precisely the same spot where the front feet have just been. Every motion of the hind is followed through with single-focused consistency, making it the most sure-footed of all mountain animals.

National Geographic provides this video of sure-footed, mountain-climbing goats:

The opening phrase of Habakkuk 3:19 also brings to mind Psalm 73:26. The New Living Testament renders the passage in this way:

Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.

Along with the Psalmist, I also declare that “God is the strength of my heart,” in that Psalm 73: 26 became the inspiration for the following scripture memory song also making reference to “hinds’ feet”:

God Is the Strength of My Heart

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart,

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart,

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart,

And my portion, my portion, and my portion for evermore.

 

He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me on my high places.

He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me on my high places.

He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me on my high places.

He’s the lifter, the lifter; He’s the lifter up of my head.

The Verse of the Day and other related scriptures remind us that despite the most severe adverse circumstances, whether physically, financially, emotionally, or otherwise, like the sure-footed mountain deer, we will find our feet set on our high places above the disasters we face.

We close with this original song “Hind’s Feet” by Tina Morgan from the Bride’s Song album, “Divine Rhapsody.”

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