Climbing To a Place of Security
By Rev Tan Eng Boo
“He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights” (Psalm 18:33)
The picture above shows two Ibexes (wild goats) moving casually along the slopes of a high cliff while munching on desert foliage. Israel is home to the largest ibex herds in the world, making it the place where it is commonly sighted. This reminds me of the verse in Psalm 18:33.
Ibexes are known to have an amazing ability when climbing a steep mountain slope.
“It ensures that its back feet alight on the exact spot where its front feet were positioned. This perfect correlation between its front and back feet enables the animal to avoid the danger that would befall a less coordinated animal” (“Every day with Jesus” Selwyn Hughes CWR, 2000).
In Psalm 18, the Psalmist draws attention to the account of David when the Lord delivered him from all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. This account is also recorded in 2 Samuel 22. Interestingly, Psalm 18:33 is repeated nearly word-for-word in the Minor Prophet book of Habakkuk. In Habakkuk 3:19, prophet Habakkuk says,
“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”
In Psalm 18:33 and Habakkuk 3:19, both the Psalmist and the prophet Habakkuk are recalling the protection of the Lord. God was there to protect them. He (God) “made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.”
In his commentary on Psalm 18, Spurgeon said “this Psalm is the song of a grateful heart overwhelmed with a retrospect of the manifold and marvellous mercies of God.” It is a good Psalm to think about how gracious and merciful the Lord has been to us and still is, during the current Covid-19 pandemic. How can we escape so great a trouble in the world today? Had it not been for the Lord’s mercies, we will be consumed. We will be overwhelmed by it. Jesus reminds us that “in the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).
Let us be reminded that:
1. Only the Lord can help us through this trouble.
The world can do very little to overcome a virus that is causing so much havoc. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1, 2). It will be God who will make our feet like “hinds' feet” (KJV), so that we can escape our “foe”. He will equip us with what we need to bring us through the rough patch. You just cannot imagine how you will escape from the pandemic until you see a verse like Psalm 18:33.
It is really assuring to be reminded that God is fully in charge. John Calvin commented on David’s psalm with these words,
“God had given him unusual swiftness, and such as does not naturally belong to men. The sense, therefore, is, that he had been aided by God in an extraordinary manner, so that like a roe he climbed with amazing speed over inaccessible rocks”
These creatures (Ibexes) are constantly prevented from falling. The point is, God has given them the stability and grip they need as they move quickly along the surface slopes of the high cliffs. Similarly, David was provided with the ability to escape from his enemies. Let us put our trust in the Lord to take care of us.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).
2. Only God is my security.
He will “set me secure on the heights.” This is a place of safety and security. The world has been facing this trouble for more than a year now. People are fearful. The path to recovery is so steep and narrow, and our footing on this path is so unstable. But God is with us. Do you believe that? The challenges may not instantly disappear, but God has promised to be with us (2 Thessalonian 3:16). We have no one else to depend on in the face of this disease.
What is God teaching us?
When life is easy, smooth going, and trouble-free, most people tend to be complacent. Why do we need to trust in the Lord? Why do we even need God at all? We become self-sufficient people. We call on God only when we need Him. We may even go to church as a form of ritual duty. We hardly pray or read the Bible because there is no need to do so. Then when a pandemic strikes or a sickness afflicts us, we panic.
It’s time we seek after the Lord. It’s time we returned to prayer and the reading of the Bible. Do we need to wait till things happen before we stay tuned to God?
I see the pandemic as God’s lesson for the Christians. We need the Lord always. It is the Lord who can help us. He will be the only One who can give us security. Do not be complacent in your faith.
“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (Psalm 105:4).
Dear Lord, help me to put You and Your kingdom first. I trust You to take care of my needs and that You will always be there for me, even when times seem dark. You are my God and You love me. I trust you, Father. Keep me in a close relationship with You always.