The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer (hind KJV), he enables me to go on the heights
— Habakkuk 3:19
This verse, found in the last chapter of Habakkuk, was a repeating of the psalmist’s writing in Psalm 18:33 and was probably a section of the Temple prayers that were chanted with the accompaniment of instruments during Temple worship. What was the psalmist and the writer of the Habakkuk trying to say in this poetic and oft quoted verse? Immediately, a mental picture comes to us as believers; we are standing on a lofty place, surveying the valley below, with God by our side. Learning something about the land of Israel, it’s topography and it’s wildlife, will reveal a picture and a life lesson perhaps at first you didn’t see in this verse.
First of all, although much of Israel is very arid, the topography is extremely rough and rugged. The wilderness, which covers the eastern and souther parts of Israel is the most rugged of all. In a distance of 40 miles, the topography changes from 1300′ below sea level near the Dead Sea to 4000′ above sea level around Jerusalem. This was the Judean Wilderness that was home to most of the Old Testament Bible characters. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David were wilderness dwellers that made their living in this harsh environment.
The main animals that inhabit these remote and rugged areas are the gazelle, which is a small antelope, and the much larger Nubian ibex which is a species of goat. Although at home in the mountainous areas, the gazelle prefers the gentler terrain and smaller slopes. Conversely, the ibex lives in the roughest, steep terrain that it can find. Their hooves are built almost like suction cups to help them to traverse the steep rocky cliffs they call home.
What then is the hind or the deer that some translations have for these verses? A hind is a female red deer that is native to Europe and there are no deer species native to the land of Israel. Could it be that something is missing in the translation of this word? If, as many scholars believe, the ibex is the animal being referred to in these Biblical passages, then a great Bible life lesson begins to unfold.
When we pray about the future, we always ask God for smooth paved paths, with curb and gutter, no rocks, and plenty of park benches for resting along the way. We don’t want to face the trials and tribulations that are often a very real part of this life on earth. A sign of maturing in the Christian faith is realizing that God often puts us in wilderness situations where the going is tough and the path strewn with rocks, to teach us to trust Him, when our strength and scheming won’t get it done.
Now, can you picture the ibex working through the steep terrain, with his feet giving him sturdy footing on the cliffs? Could this be what this verse is alluding to? God, give me strength, give me the feet of the ibex so that I can hold on and make it through the rough places that you are having me walk through? Our prayers should not necessarily be for smooth paths, because we know that there is not much of this life that is flat and smooth. Our prayer should be, “give me the feet to walk the path that you’ve put me on today. I trust you to take me through the high and rugged places where the footing is treacherous and a fall would be ruin”. This is the cry from the writer of Habakkuk and Psalms, “give us the feet to traverse the rough patches of life that God is sending us through to mold us into the person that can completely trust in Him.”
The next time you find yourself in a rough and rugged patch of life, instead of asking God for a way out, ask him for the feet needed to walk the path He chose for you.
About the author:
Bob is the creator of this site and a disciple of Ray Vander Laan. Along with his wife of 50 years, he teaches a Bible study at Christ’s Church in Roswell, NM. He is also an avid hunter and fisher.
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Very well explained
So blessed by this exposition. God is establishing us with speed. Amen!
The Holy Spirit lead me to understand his plans and i’m blessed with this revelation, thank you Jesus
What a marvelous exposition. I’m richly blessed. Many Thanks
This was a very detailed and well explained account of what hinds feet mean in the Bible. Habakkuk was wonderfully petitioning God to equip him with what he needed to face the uncertainties of captivity. We do need these kinds of hinds feet as we navigate life in 2020 with COVID-19 and all the maladies of life in the world. I desire hinds feet so that I can overcome every hurdle that comes my way to challenge me. Thank you so much for this very fine teaching. God be with you.
Thank you for taking the time to teach us who long to know and understand the truth. I feel empowered, even more so, when I realize God has a plan for each and everyone. God be with us all,God be with America, God be with our leaders, and dear Lord, have mercy. Knowledge is power, and there is true and everlasting power in God.
Life is a struggle in this time of the season we have to limit ourselves this thanksgiving with family but God knows what is best for us so just love the way Jesus loves and trust him and he will lead us thru all that is going on so i sam encouraged to know that he is letting me know that is with me thru thr rough times
This is a great explanation and breakdown. May God continue to bless you in teaching His word.
GOD MANFSTATED HIS WORD CALLING ME..7 MONTHS HIS PRESENCE WAS UPON ME
Greatly Inspired -There are Spiritual high places beckoning to us… Some distance from the eyes of the ordinary folk.
Will appreciate, such posts to my Gmail.
This was so nourishing. Thank you so much !! I needed more understanding of this.
Hello this Biblical information is a clear tool for my research and understanding and development of my present and further walk in Christ Jesus. I have received so much more revelation and personal confirmation I can not description how this has impact me to want to know the Lord more Amen.