“GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.” (Habakkuk 3:19)
In the struggle to understand the issues of life, especially the reality of evil and its consequences, the believer in Christ has only one resolve and resource: to trust in the LORD and to daily flee to Him. All other resources may fail, even our closest friends and family, but the LORD is faithful.
Habakkuk comes to this fitting conclusion when he writes, ““GOD, the Lord, is my strength.” It is interesting to note that the noun GOD is the English word for Yahweh. It is normally translated by the noun LORD (6,399 times), but in this instance we find the word GOD (314 times). It still means self-existent One and it remains the most personal name for God.
GOD, the Lord. Here we have the Hebrew word Adonai. Adonai refers to the Lord our master, ruler and sovereign. The name also implies a relationship based upon promise and covenant. I was asked one time where the word “sovereign” or “sovereignty” occurs in the Bible. I would say every time the word Lord appears.
Yahweh, the Adonai is Habakkuk’s strength. The self-sufficient and sovereign God of the universe is the prophet’s power, ability, and even physical strength. It is this sovereign God who gives Habakkuk, and each believer, sure footedness during the most troubling times. Habakkuk refers to the surefootedness of the deer who has no qualms treading on the high places and rocky cliffs.
Dr. John Walvoord writes, “The unfailing source of strength and confidence necessary to satisfaction and contentment is the Sovereign (’ădōnāy) Lord (Yahweh) Himself. The strength He gives is like the power found in the feet of a deer, a gazelle, or any active, swift-footed animal. Much as a deer can quickly bound through a dark forest, so the prophet said he could move joyfully through difficult circumstances. Though his legs trembled (v. 16) at the awesome theophany of God, that same Lord was His joy (v. 18), strength (v. 19), and assurance.”
Dr. Walvoord concludes by saying, “God enabled the prophet to walk on the heights. Not only would he bound through trials; he would also climb to the mountaintops of victory and triumph. The poetic language of this verse is common in other passages (e.g., Deut. 32:13; 2 Sam. 22:34; Ps. 18:33). A deer or gazelle pictures strength, surefootedness, beauty, and speed.”
The prophetical book concludes with the statement “To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.” This points the reader back to 3:1 and the use of this prophecy as a song of worship. The dirge of the prophet’s complaint (1:2-2:1) has given way to the joy of praise and thanksgiving.
How often is that the tendency with believers today? The stress and complaint of problems ultimately gives way to the praise and thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness. Our living by sight gives way to living by faith (Habakkuk 2:4).
May the LORD’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!