Deer to God (Psalm 18:30-36)
Reflections on Psalm 18:30-36
In western Pennsylvania, deer are a hazard to both drivers and insurance premiums. These prancing creatures frolic through the forests, neighborhoods, and cities surrounding Pittsburgh. With little concern for themselves, they gleefully skip across country lanes, municipal roads, and busy highways. Countless automobile accidents have resulted from the oblivious sauntering of these four-footed creatures.
When I enter the quiet country road adjacent to my parents’ house, I have to drop my speed by at least 10 miles per hour and carefully scope the horizon for any deer daring to dash across my route of travel. Amazingly, I have yet to hit a deer with my car, a feat unclaimed by a majority of Pittsburghers. If these animals are so careless and cause so much wreckage, why does the Lord commend them throughout the Bible?
Deer to God
Deer have incredible dexterity of foot. They are able to place their back feet on the exact spot where their front feet had just trod. Because of the certainty of their steps, the deer can sprint without concern. Additionally, deer can scale high terrain and reach impressive heights.
The prowess of foot possessed by this woodland animal finds expression in the Bible as a metaphor for God’s work in our lives. In Psalm 18:33 David writes that God “makes my feet like the feet of a deer” (Psalm 18:33). In another place, a minor prophet reflects, “The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills” (Habakkuk 3:19 NKJV). In the musings of both the psalmist and the prophet, the swift-footedness of the deer comes from trusting God.
When we confidently stake our lives on the Lord and give our everything in love for him, he promises to guide us and lead us home. Because God is sorting our steps, we can run through life with certainty like the deer who never doubts where his hind legs will land. After the front feet have fallen, the rear have only to mirror the step. God goes before us, and our call is to match his steps. In this certainty, we can pursue his work with joy.
As we run in our God’s wake, his strength guides us up towering heights. Up the mountain he will lead us, and from the summit we will overlook with joy the valleys out of which he brought us. Deer may seem like dumb animals with no situational awareness, but they run because they have confidence of where their feet will fall. We, too, can live with purpose because we know who guides our steps.
Footsteps—putting feet on our faith
1. Why are deer so competent at running?
2. How does this work as an analogy for trusting God?
3. How do you specifically need to trust God today?
Dear God, you are my strength. Through doubt, disarray, and dismay, you are an unshakeable rock. I can build my life on the certainty of your foundation. Lead me today, for when you step I know where to go. Give me surety of foot to pursue you passionately. Lead me to the heights where you dwell. In Christ I pray, amen.