A Psalm for the Handicapped

Psalm 18 in the Bible was written by David and he sang it when the Lord delivered him from Saul and other enemies. It begins with David’s expression of trust in God and his total dependence on God’s security:

“I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:1-2 New International Version)

David then narrates his near-death experience and says, “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice… He reached down from on high and took hold of me.” (verses 6,16 NIV)

Psalm 18 is about the victory of a beleaguered king on the battlefield. But strangely, it also connects with the small battles that ordinary handicapped persons have to fight in their ordinary daily lives, and how miraculously God helps them win. God’s right hand gives them the support they need (verse 35). He helps them to stand in high places (verse 33), something they can never do on their own. But much more than that, God gives them new feet, the feet of a deer! (verse 33)

Deer feet or hooves are described as anatomical wonders. They enable the deer to run extremely fast, scale heights, jump over obstacles, chase animals, all without stumbling. A hind is a female deer that can place her back feet exactly where her front feet had stepped! So she can run real fast and securely even in difficult terrain. The King James Version of Psalm 18, particularly mentions hind’s feet. David says, “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.” (verses 32-33).

For a handicapped person a small staircase or just uneven ground can present a great obstacle that may be impossible to negotiate. But David’s experience is that God “brought him out into a spacious place” (verse 19) and “made his way secure” (verse 32). “Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip”, says David in verse 36 (KJV). This verse has been explained more clearly and differently in the recent translations of Psalm 18. For example, the New International Version clarifies: “You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.” The Jubilee Bible 2000 says, “Thou shall enlarge my steps under me, and my knees shall not tremble.”  The Contemporary English Version says simply: “You clear the way for me, and now I won’t stumble.”

A handicapped person would like to get his weak ankles, folding knees, broken hips, or whatever, replaced with the feet of a deer, and have a dream run to great heights! But believe, God offers just that!

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