Habakkuk 1:17 NIV
‘Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy?’
The Chaldeans (Babylonians) cast their nets
Our text is in the form of a question, “Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy?”
We will only look at the answer in the next post.
In the meantime, Habakkuk was baffled by God not dealing with Babylon’s wickedness. God’ appeared to be using this violent nation to judge the sins of His people. This had Habakkuk bewildered.
Habakkuk questions how long these aggressive Chaldeans would get away with such blatant wickedness.
- Do you think there are any similarities between events across our world today, and those of Habakkuk’s day?
- What concerns you most about God permitting the destruction of nations and individuals?
Persistence in the use of nets
Habakkuk continues to liken the Chaldean campaigns to local fishing practices. When the fishermen made a successful cast and caught a large haul of fish, they spread out their nets. They then removed the fish and hurled the net back into the sea for the next catch.
This is symbolic of how the Chaldeans conquered a nation. They immediately went out with their net again to conquer yet another nation.
Just as the fishermen sorted through their catch and discarded the fish that were of no value, so the Chaldeans took many captives— and killed those who were not useful to them.
Their aim appeared to be to conquer the Middle Eastern world. Habakkuk puzzled over why God allowed the Chaldean king to despatch his armies time and time again to conquer nations.
- How do you feel about the possibility that God allows the ungodly to persecute the godly?
At times, it does appear that God permits evil forces to attack the children of God.
Think of some examples.(Think Iraq….)
Satan attempts to destroy Job
Think of the time when God permitted Satan to oppress Job. Isn’t that a perfect example? Scripture says, “he (Job) was a truly good person, who respected God and refused to do evil.” (Job 1:1 CEV)
In that first chapter of Job there is an interesting dialogue between God and His arch-enemy, Satan.
God asked Satan,“What do you think of my servant Job? No one on earth is like him–he is a truly good person, who respects me and refuses to do evil.” (Job 1:8 CEV)
Satan’s retort is, “Why shouldn’t he respect you? You are like a wall protecting not only him, but his entire family and all his property. You make him successful in whatever he does, and his flocks and herds are everywhere. Try taking away everything he owns, and he will curse you to your face.” (Job 1:9-11 CEV)
God then permitted Satan to attack Job in whatever way he wished with this one condition, “Make Job suffer as much as you want, but just don’t kill him.” (Job 2:6 CEV)
Despite Satan’s every effort to destroy Job’s faith in God, by robbing him of possessions, destroying his family members, undermining the support of his wife, and even using the criticism of his so-called friends, Job’s faith remained strong.
Limitations to Satan’s net
- Do you know of someone right now who is undergoing a severe test of their faith? Ask the Lord to show you how you can help to bolster their faith.
- Are you currently the victim of a blatant attack? In what ways are you under stress? Speak to the Lord about it.
We are constantly fighting an adversary who is determined to keep us trapped in his net. He uses situations, people, circumstances, even our family and friends sometimes. He has no qualms about “destroying nations (and people) without mercy.” (Habakkuk 1:17)
But the good news is that, as with Job, God limits his power.
No net is too powerful for God
No matter what we may be going through right now, we can hold fast to the knowledge that God is still on His throne. He is still Lord.
We may not understand what God is doing. We may not like what is happening. But hold on to the thought that our mighty God loves us more than we can comprehend. In some strange way that we cannot understand, He is still in control.
Praise God the evil one only has limited power. Jesus came into our world to set us free from his bondage.
“The blood of Christ set you free from an empty way of life…. You know that you were not bought with things that can pass away, like silver or gold. Instead, you were bought by the priceless blood of Christ. He is a perfect lamb. He doesn’t have any flaws at all.” (1 Peter 1:18,19 NIrV)
How can I pray for you today? Leave a comment for me.
If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.