David also wrote in Psalm 18:33 (ESV), “He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.”
When I read these verses I went in search of photos of deer climbing the heights.
What are the high places to which Habakkuk and David refer? Why is it important to have “feet like a deer”?
The high places in the Bible were places of worship. The way the “high places” are referred to in these verses is more personal than the physical places of worship. It is a spiritual place. It is our relationship with the Lord.
Take a moment to scroll back up to the deer photos. Note the rockiness and steepness of the high places. It is no wonder we need the Lord to equip us with the surefootedness of a deer to abide there with Him. I definitely don’t have the surefootedness of a deer in the physical realm and never will. But, oh how I want it in the spiritual realm!
No matter what circumstances are like in our lives, we can abide with the Lord on the high places. As I write this I am struck by the thought that vineyards are often planted on mountain and hillsides. In John 15, Jesus uses the vineyard as an analogy for abiding in Him.
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5 ESV
Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to be apart from Him ever again! Early in my Christian walk I sometimes found it a difficult path to follow. But when I thought back to my life before Jesus, it was no comparison. As hard as it felt at times, it was a cake walk compared to life without Him! And, in all honesty, the reason it was so hard is because I was holding back, struggling against Him, and not fully cooperating with Him. I had not fully surrendered my life to Him. I was not abiding. I did not have my deer feet.
God used circumstances to draw me to Himself. To teach me trust, patience, discipline, and that joy and peace do not depend upon the circumstances of the physical life. It is the abiding life, where I meet my Lord on the high places, where I commune with Him, release burdens and cares to Him, that he causes me to rest and fills me with the peace and joy only He can give. Don’t take back your burdens. Keep your thoughts focused on good things:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT
If you have trouble keeping your thoughts positive and keeping your hands off the burdens you’ve given to God, here is some godly instruction:
3For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV
4“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.b 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV
16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
Stay in the Word. Keep it always before you. Talk about the Word/Jesus. Pray continually. Take wrong thoughts/lies of the enemy captive and obedient to Christ. Replace those thoughts with truth from God’s Word. Believe it. Receive it. Live it. Rejoice always! Give thanks in all circumstances. Abide and thrive (my God-given words to live by for 2018)! This is how God gives us our deer feet. As we journey with Him up the mountain abiding with Him, following Him, learning to trust Him on those blind corners, rocky slopes, and sheer cliffs, we find the fear and doubt are replaced with faith and trust. At the top the air is clear, the water is sweet. We find shade to rest under a big beautiful tree and feel the cool breeze. Close your eyes and breathe it in! The Lord God Almighty is Your Abiding Companion, Provider, Protector, and Savior through it all! This abiding place of communion and worship is where we find rest, peace, and joy in our Lord no matter our circumstances. It’s up to us to let go and let God do what only He can do, while we do what He has told us to do – abide.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. Habakkuk 3:19 NLT
Copyright © 2018 by Julia Melatis
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