Hind’s Feet

Habakkuk 3:17-19 has long been one of my favorite passages of Scripture. I have been challenged and comforted by the prophet’s proclamation. I have been moved to compassion for those who suffer the injustice of consequences brought about by other’s sinful deeds. I have been reminded of God’s sovereignty and cautioned about making my own path. These verses are so full of powerful, wonderful, and even frightening truths.

The last phrase of this soliloquy, “…He shall make my feet like hind’s feet,” has long eluded me. The picture of a mountain goat or antelope scaling the rocky heights comes to mind and I have assumed the message is that God steadies our feet on the rocky precipice so that we are able to stand firm. This is at least one part of the truth conveyed in the image.  Today, though I discovered a new depth to the truth of this verse, and to the word picture itself. First Habakkuk was quoting David who had written a psalm of praise to God after God had rescued him from Saul and the other enemies of Israel who had threatened the kingdom. He says of the Lord, “He makes my feet like hind’s feet; and sets me upon high places.”  This speaks to me, because I realize that Habakkuk found strength in the Lord through His Word and through the others who had gone before Him. David was an example of God’s faithfulness in a life fraught with the consequences of others’ sinful choices. And Habakkuk was able to gain strength to worship God in the midst of his own battle over other-created consequences.  That is such a valuable nugget for me. It is amazing for me to see this truth lived out in one of the prophets of Israel from thousands of years ago: God’s faithfulness in others and through His Word is a powerful encouragement.

Secondly, I read a description of how a roe deer scales the craggy heights, that made the image of this verse take on new significance.  “The rear feet of the female roe deer, also known as the hind step in precisely the same spot where the front feet have just been. Every motion of the hind is followed through with this same single-focused consistency, making it the most sure-footed of all the mountain animals.”  Single-minded focus on this step, repeat, step, repeat, gives the hind its stability. We scale the heights in the midst of our trials, when we are “in step” with the Spirit following with single-minded devotion. We see the furrow made by His design and we step into that place of safety.

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