Monday, June 18, 2007

The 'Goodly Words' of a Deer

Jill challenged me to research the references and significance of ‘deer’ in the scriptures. I never turn down a challenge without at least giving it a try so here are my thoughts on the subject.
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Who can watch a deer in the wild and not be moved by its gentle , graceful beauty ?!

The very first reference to deer in the bible is in Gen. 49:21 in Jacob’s prophecy to his sons. About Naphtali he says, “He is a deer let loose, he gives goodly words.” (Gen. 49:21)
Naphtali means ‘my wrestling’ signifying a struggle in Naphtali’s life yet the blessing bestowed on him promises a prevailing victory and freedom!
Obviously to be like a deer is a good thing, and if a deer could talk, its words would be gentle and kind and full of goodness!

What does it mean to be like a deer?

It means to be sure footed !!
In Psalm 18:33 it says “He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places.”
A deer is so sure of foot, it fears not the high craigy places of its mountain home.
There is an interesting turn of phrase in Psalm 18:33 - “and sets me on my high places”.
A deer is so sure footed he does not look down when he runs ; his head is held high and he looks far ahead – as though he trusts something or someone else to ‘set’ his feet in secure places.
Is that not what God promises us?
Psalm 37:23 says “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his way….”
Let us be like the deer --trusting that God is placing our feet in secure places…. Knowing that no matter what comes into our life, God is ordering our steps and we can keep our eyes lifted up – gazing into His face never fearing that our foot will slip!

Not only is the deer sure footed but it is a joy to watch it leap!
Isaiah 35:6 declares "the lame shall leap like a deer" in a time when God’s kingdom rules.
I love to watch a deer leap…..it seems to leap over gravity itself.
I have watched them bound up to a six foot fence , stop, look at it and then effortlessly elevate into the air over the fence and land ever so lightly on their feet on the other side!
Would that we could be like deer when obstacles block our life path. That we would stop, look, then trusting God to make a way through - simply allow His strength –in us- to lift us up and over the difficulty that threatens to overwhelm us or stop us in our tracks.

To be like a deer means to be loving.
To watch a mother doe with her fawns is a beautiful thing, and the bible uses the deer to speak of marital love.
In Prov. 5: 19 the words “as a loving deer and a graceful doe” refer to the satisfying love between a man and his wife.
Song of Solomon carries this theme in 2:9, comparing the woman’s lover to a stag. Has any king ever worn a crown as magnificent as the antlers of a buck? How regally he carries himself, every step proclaiming his royalty!
I smile when the young bucks walk across my back yard. Even when their antlers are barely showing they already hold their head with pride imitating the high stepping gait of a mature buck.
We are children of the most high….and proclaim our royalty best when we love one another – with respect and tenderness , recognizing that the love between a man and a woman is the picture God has chosen to picture His love for the body of Christ!

An important aspect of being a deer is its thirst and need of water.
In Psalm 42:1 David says, “As the deer pants for the water brook, so pants my soul for You, O God.”
Deer tend to feed near water and if they are sick they will lie near water, knowing it is the most important thing they need.
If forced to go without water for any length of time their thirst is intense and they will long for water, searching for it until they find it.

When we find ourselves in a dry place, do we know where to go? Do we seek the living water - the only thing that will quench our thirst? When we have not drunk deep enough of God’s life giving word, do we recognize our thirst and hurry to find fresh water like the deer? Or do we reach for other things to quench our thirst: the medicine cabinet, entertainment, the pursuit of financial gain, food, new toys, the remote control, sports, anything - except the One who alone has the ‘living water’ that will satisfy us?

The last verse in Song of Solomon speaks of the Shulamite woman’s longing for her love…. “Make haste my beloved and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices.”

Do we run like a deer, into the arms of God…ever seeking Him, longing for Him, thirsting for Him?

“Thank your, Lord, for your magnificent creation and especially for the deer that teaches us in such a beautiful way to trust You and seek You for all we need and desire!”

35 comments:

Demara said...

A beautiful post Julie! I want to be like the deer that seeks and finds the water, the living water, when I am dry. I want to know when I am in fact dry before it's too late, too!!!

Laura said...

I enjoyed seeing the pictures of the new twins to set the frame for the post.
My mother knows me well enough to know I would never, ever in a million years get a real tatoo! "Honor your mother and father." I look for ways to bless my mother, and a tatoo certainly would not do that! But it is fun. One time I got a clip on nose ring and wore it to see my grandpa just to give him a hard time. Oh the look on his face and the scoffing I got! I could barely keep a straight face and took it off after less than a minute. I thought it was hilarious. Him, not so much!
I did have a lovely time, and am safely home. I am glad to get to catch up on reading your blog. I get so much from each one!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Julie- You rose to the challenge and out did yourself. Won't it be a blessing that each time we see a deer we will think of the "dear" deer scriptures! thanks for doing teh research.

Soulfood said...

I stumbled across your blog while doing a google search on the word "sure footed". I have been blessed by your write up. God bless you indeed. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome. I came across your page while researching the name Naphtali. I am currently pregnant and considering the name for my daughter. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the blessings of Naphtali.

Hilary said...

I was googling "sure footed as a deer" as well because I was doing my quiet time this morning. I had an idea what it meant but your blog post really opened my eyes to a wider definition of it. God bless you dear Julie, its women like you who set the example for younger women like me on the kind of heart we ought to have.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your insight into the significance of the deer in the Bible. I feel led to share this with you:

Three weeks ago I lost my baby due to miscarriage. I've been finding it difficult to feel close to God...hard to find comfort in him.

I have lived in the country for a couple of years and have NEVER seen a deer in my backyard. However, a week after losing my baby I was crying on my bed, calling out to God. I then looked out my window and saw a deer with it's doe eating under my apple tree. The grief imediately went away and was replaced with peace and comfort as I watched them.

A week later I was driving home from worship practice. It had been very emotionally difficult to be in public and worshiping God through my pain. When I drove in the yard, there was a deer again. I parked the car and we stared at each other for a period of time.

This morning I was feeling alone and not motivated to do anything. I went up to my bedroom again to weep on my bed and cry out to God. As I wept, I again looked out my window to see a deer under my apple tree. And again my pain was replaced with peace and comfort. I am now certain that God is sending these deer to me, each week since the loss of my baby, to bring comfort and give me encouragement to continue to trust in him.

sibya said...

thankyou soo much..my name is sibya ..derived from
the Hebrew name Zibiah (king Joash's mother in the old testament).i was searching for the meaning of my name
and found that it means a deer/roe..your article on the
biblical emphasis of a deer in the Bible has made me aware of what God wants me 2 be...thankyou :)

Anonymous said...

This is a thought provoking post, Julie. MAy your oil never run dry.

judiW said...

I stumbled upon your blog while searching for the deer references in the bible. My 20 yr.old granddaughter has been having dreams with a deer in them. I wanted to give her a scriptural picture of the meaning of the deer. I was thrilled with all that you posted here. I'm excited to share the info with her.Thank you for sharing...

Anonymous said...

This morning I went on a walk at a trail near my home, for exercise but more so just to clear my mind and speak a few words to God. Well, nearing the end of the walk I was done talking and was waiting for an answer when off to the side of the trail I saw a deer, and it me. As I walked past it lifted up it's head and paid attention to my passing, even after I passed and looked back I noticed it still watching me, moving forward from where I saw it. When I got him I looked up 'deer in the bible' and was directed here to realize that the verses and words here are my answer. Particularly the intro where Gods promise of Naphtali's victory and freedom amidst a struggle and trusting that God will make us of sure foot and set us in high places are mentioned. Just wanted to thank you for your post, it was exactly what I needed to see today.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Julie!

It's a total God thing that I clicked on your blog and how it spoke to me. I am the Fellowship of Christian Athletes President at Carson Newman College and after one of our meetings, one of my other leaders told me to go up and see what I can find on what a deer represents. She told me this for she said that she had a vision or dream of a deer and how it was a vision about me. At first I was kind of indifferent. One because I am a 21 year old male (What male wants to be called a deer. We prefer more manly things like a lion.) and two it just caught me off guard. I didn't understand why God laid that on her heart but now after reading your post I am glad he did. Thank you for being submissive in following the Spirit and he will surely reward you. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory. 2 Corinthians 4:17 You are having eternal weight and glory and I just wanted to let you know that.

Thankfully,

Byron Bell

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing the work! I have been on the search for the spiritual/Biblical significance of the deer as the Holy Spirit continuously brings the deer to my attention. SO GOOD! Blessings-
Melanie Golden

Butterfly Girl said...

This was great! I have felt tired and weery lately spiritualy and physically. I think God wanted me to read this today and the two deer that i just spotted in my back yard near the lake has inspired me to continue to seek GOD and find the water that my body longs for. At this moment, I am feeling infinite love and gratitude.

Shirley said...

Great post. Was just looking for biblical significance of deer when I found your blog!

Anonymous said...

Lastnight before I fell asleep. I was praying. As I prayed I saw a brown deer with white spots. It walked in a beautiful tall grass field. I thought it was a vision to bring peace. The next morning I was watching the news and to my amazement they were showing my vision!! The color of the field, the same species of deer.... I knew I had to look up what god was trying to tell me. I landed on your sight and it fit my circumstance to a "T" thanks for sharing your sight. It blessed me so much today!!

Anonymous said...

I happened to chance upon your post when I was looking up the significance of the deer in the Bible. Been most timely.. Thanks for your encouragement!

Andrea said...

Thanks for your explanation. A few years ago through Divine inspiration I was led to read Psa 18 and this verse always puzzled me. I read that psalm when I was down and out and really depressed. I have seen God's hand at work in my life. Today I wanted to review that psalms and especially verse 33 and came across your blog. Thank you for posting. It has blessed me and given me further insight into what God wants to do in my life. Be blessed and continue writing.

Anonymous said...

A young deer came about 3 feet to me today. I had no food for it. It just came. I felt so much love and admiration for the animal, and I felt so joyous and at peace.

I have been thinking about it a lot and I was very happy to come across these Bible verses. The experience of coming so close to the deer seemed spiritual in some way.

Dawn said...

'Had a tough day at work and came out of my school building late in the evening in a rough area to go home, when I saw a deer right by my Suburban standing...almost guarding me while I got to my car. I knew it was prophetic, so looking for meaning, I came upon your post. Isn't God always faithful to strengthen us...victory and freedom, leaping over fences with ease! I'm so thirsty for His refreshing everlasting waters.

Kay said...

Thanks for your blog, Julie.

This evening in the dark on the freeway I had an encounter with a deer.

The freeway had been filled with lights from cars, then I passed through a dark patch and suddenly the deer appeared in front of my van like it had been waiting for me.

It stood as if frozen in place like a statue with its front legs in the left lane and hind legs in the right lane. If I would have had my window down, I could have grabbed its tail as I drove by.

Instead, instinctively I swerved to the right to miss it, then wondered if I was going to lose control of the van. But God had already reminded me ahead of time that tonight I needed to reduce my speed. It was deer hunting season and for this reason I was able to bring the van safely back onto the road.

This encounter happened at a crucial time in my life. I am about to make a major move and moments before the deer appeared my thoughts were centered on the future and my financial provision.

Sensing that there was a connection between the deer, my thoughts at the moment, and my situation, I began to ask God why the deer was frozen in the middle of the road where I could not miss seeing it. In fact I would have hit it, if my instincts had not kicked in.

God is in control of everything that enters my life so what did the deer symbolize? What was God telling me through this encounter?...if anything.

First I did a Bible search and discovered 1 Kings 4:22-24 where the deer is called a "roe" and is identified as "provision" for Solomon.

That rang a bell since provision was my concern at the very moment I had encountered the deer.

Then a googled "deer Bible symbol" and came across your blog. You wrote, "Let us be like the deer --trusting that God is placing our feet in secure places…. Knowing that no matter what comes into our life, God is ordering our steps and we can keep our eyes lifted up – gazing into His face never fearing that our foot will slip!"

God was indeed ordering my steps right around the deer keeping me safe, yet placing the deer frozen in its tracks in my path so I could not miss the message--assuring me that He was ordering my steps and leading me in my plans to move.

When He led me to your blog, I discovered that God has used the deer to impact the lives of others also.

What a truly awesome God He is!

Kay

Anonymous said...

i am one of those who stumbled upon your blog after a google search and just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

i had a vivid dream about deer and this is where, I believe, God has led me to.

Thank you for sharing and many blessings!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this blog post. I have turned my life over the will of God and have been noticing certain animals in my morning run in the park and saw a doe and her fawn - the sight stopped me dead in my tracks and felt so peaceful and filled with grace. Your blog post captured what I was looking for so eloquently ... thank you.

Gerrid said...

Beautiful post! This really spoke to me today!

Bless you,
Gerrid

Rich said...

My wife just lost her father - barely 9 months after losing her mom to cancer. It has been a struggle. The other day she was letting the dog out in the back yard and two young fawns were laying in the grass next to the house - just looking at my wife. She said to me - "I felt like that was God telling me Mom and Dad are together again - and they are happy and at peace in the presence of the Lord." I am convinced this is the case !! Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this revelation. It gives me a good insight about my vision. If you don't mind i like to share this to our church.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this information with me and everyone else fortunate enough to happen upon your sight. I've been going through a difficult period but as I wrote on my debut novel "Revelations" each day a few deer would walk across my back yard. Sure footed and graceful to remind me to stay on course and trust in God. I did and still do. The book is done and as I await a response from literary agents, I prayed yesterday morning and when I returned home after a meeting in town. My son said, "Mom two bucks came to our nack yard today." I said, "Wow, I'm sorry I missed them." "Oh Mom, they are still out back. It's like they waited for you."
I went to the window and they were gracefully seated in the back yard along the fence. Calm and serene. The deer stayed for another hour and left before the rain came.

Today I found your lovely message and know that God has been sending me a message via these graceful deer. Be calm and sure footed, Trusting in God to guide my feet on this journey. ARDean

Anonymous said...

Thanks Julie for sharing on the significance of the life of a deer. This has helped my understanding of all the scriptures featuring deer........God bless you.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this post.

God brought to my mind the word "does" and I went to look up the meaning and realized that a doe meant a female deer.

I found your blog next and this post has brought comfort to me, knowing that God wants me to be like a deer, sure footed and trusting in Him.

I read through the testimonies of comments left behind and I believe God is working through this post to speak to many.

Thank you. God bless.

Anonymous said...

After reading the post concerning deer. My 3 encounters mean peace and comfort and keep striving and depend on God.

Anonymous said...

After reading the post concerning deer. My 3 encounters mean peace and comfort and keep striving and depend on God.

christine macphail said...

Thank you so much. You explained eloquently what I was searching for. GOD BLESS YOU WITH MANY MORE PEARLS

Anonymous said...

Thank you for leaving this post up. On Monday, two different people gave me the verse about Naphtali and the sure footed deer and said they believed that these were passages the Lord wanted to speak over me. Given that they both were about deer, I wanted to do a little research to help my understanding. Your post was really encouraging. So glad I found your blog. Blessings! Kathleen

Anonymous said...

While at my church I was worshipping and while my eyes were closed. ..I saw a deer and he was drinking water from a river and while he was drinking. ...there came a lot of birds soaring in the sky...and I was just was so happy. ...so I came across your blog and I thank you for your research of the word...and the comments from the reader about Solomon and how the doe was a sign of provision. ..since today is tithers sunday at my church. ♥

Anonymous said...

God Bless You for this post! I am in a difficult time with many troubles and questions. I sought the Lord in prayer and through communion and when I finished I came out to see Three deer feeding right up close to the house next to the living room window. I felt it was a sign from the Lord but was unsure exactly what it meant so I googled deer symbolism in the Bible and found your post. It spoke directly to my heart and eased my fears. The Lord used your post to speak to me today! May you be richly blessed!