Or would you rather be a fish? – Big Fish or little fish?

Habakkuk 1:14 CEV

‘You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler.’

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Have you ever caught a fish?

  • Have you ever gone fishing? What was your experience?

A neighbour here at our retirement village is very keen on fishing. However, I have only participated in a fishing trip twice. On the first occasion, as a youngster I was taken fishing at the seashore near Gordon’s Bay in the Western Cape, by two uncles. They loaned me a rod but sadly I lacked the patience to persevere, caught nothing, gave up, and instead explored the rock pools.

Years later I was invited by a colleague to minister at his church in Sinoia (Zimbabwe). At one point over the weekend, we went fishing at the Kariba Dam. I caught two angelfish whilst my colleague, a keen fisherman, caught nothing.

Mankind likened to fish

The late Bing Crosby had a popular tune entitled ‘Swinging on a star’. In the song he asks whether you would like to swing on a star or be a … and he goes through various creatures. In one of the verses he asks, ‘or would you rather be a fish’. He describes a fish and concludes  though he’s slippery, he still gets caught.’

In Habakkuk’s second complaint to God about the use of the Chaldeans to punish Judah, the prophet likens all men to fish – speechless and helpless, with no power to resist who therefore soon get caught.

  • Can you recall an occasion when Satan has tricked you into believing that you have no power to resist?

‘He [Habakkuk) compares the world to the sea; men to fishes; Nebuchadnezzar to a fisherman’ (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary), constantly casting his nets and capturing his prey.

Big fish eat little fish

We live in a society today where the big fish eat the little fish, and the even bigger fish eat the big fish. The same was true of Habakkuk’s day. Babylon was gobbling up the smaller nations, and God was seemingly not taking any action to establish justice.

  • Can you think of a present-day example of this in practice?
  • Into which group would you place yourself – big fish or little fish?

Scripture teaches us that God is not blind to the evil in our world. God constantly warns evil-doers throughout Scripture.

“They have left the true road and have gone down the wrong path by following the example of the prophet Balaam. He was the son of Beor and loved what he got from being a crook…These people are like dried up water holes and clouds blown by a windstorm. The darkest part of hell is waiting for them.” (2 Peter 2:15,17 CEV)

Fish without a ruler

Habakkuk asked the Lord why He had made people like fish and other sea creatures, apparently without a ruler.

‘You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler.’ over them.

Mankind, in general, may be likened to fish without a ruler because without Jesus in their lives they are a law unto themselves. We continue to see clear evidence of this during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown protocols. Despite numerous appeals by our state president here in South Africa, many folk still refuse to wear masks covering both nose and mouth, to sanitise their hands regularly, to keep their social distance, and avoiding mass gatherings. 

  • Is it the same in your country? Share in a comment below, and tell us where you live. 

Many who have opened their lives to Jesus as their Saviour have yet to yield to him as their Lord.  They still fail to allow His Holy Spirit to guide and direct their words and actions.

  • Is there perhaps an area of your life where you are still very much in control?
  • Can you honestly say Jesus is Lord of your life? If not why not? How can you rectify this?

God has made us for Himself and we are incomplete until we are complete in Him - St Augustine Share on X

Please join me in prayer:

Gracious Heavenly Father I realise that there are areas in my life where Jesus is not Lord of my words or my actions. Please forgive me. Holy Spirit, please help me to be so guided and directed by you that Jesus is seen to be, not only my Saviour, but also Lord of my life. These things I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Don’t forget to tell me what country you’re from. I’d love to know.


If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.