by Gardner Hall
The prophet Habakkuk was overwhelmed with anxiety about two things:
- The injustice in his country (Habakkuk 1:1-4) and
- the resulting destruction at the hands of the Babylonians (Habakkuk 1:5-2:1).
However, when the prophet turned to the Lord in prayer, his confidence grew to the point that he could rejoice in the Lord whatever happened (Habakkuk 3:17-18). The final verse of the book, a statement from one of David’s Psalms, is compelling. “Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!” (Psalms 18:13 HCSB). The reference is probably to an animal like the Palestine mountain gazelle. Their hoofs have sharp edges and the undersides are concave, enabling them to climb seemingly impassible cliffs and thus view the world, as it were, from above the fray. That’s the idea here! God gave the prophet feet like those of a deer, the spiritual traction to climb into the spiritual realms and view the rise and fall of the nations with a compliant detachment.
God’s followers today are often overwhelmed with the same type of anxiety:
- The injustices in our countries and
- their growing weakness.
Rather than wanting us to fall into depression when being bombarded with news about the evils in our nation, God invites us through the prophet to pray to him and rise above the fray into the heavenly realms. A focus on him and eternity helps us avoid the despair that comes from a this-worldly focus. “Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!”