"The Fisherman"

Preached by on December 10, 2017
— From the series,

The frustrated preacher has a second complaint with God. He first states that God is sovereign, but then argues that sovereignty isn't fair. Ever complained to God that, even though he is God, he shouldn't do certain things?

The Fisherman

(Hab. 1:12-2:1)



A.  Listen to Isaiah as he calls upon us to trust in the sovereignty of God.  (READ Is. 55:6-9)  I believe I have understanding in certain matters.  I use what I think is my wisdom to discern and then act upon my thoughts.  I use the brain God gave me to try and understand what I should do in any given circumstance, but I know, I don’t understand God.

B.  In fact sometimes God makes no sense to my way of thinking.  Especially in the area of justice.  I want my “eye for and eye and tooth for a tooth.”  In fact, I want the bad guys punished, but I want grace for the little things that I do.  When God allows the wicked to prosper and the righteous to be persecuted it doesn’t make sense.

C.  But I ask myself one question, “Do I believe God is sovereign?”  By that, I mean do I believe he has more wisdom and understanding, more power and ability, and every right to do anything He wants any time He wants to, or does God need my approval on how prayers are answered and how life turns out for all people?

D.  Jeremiah, probably a contemporary of Habakkuk for at least part of the time, also voices a complaint to God.  Here what Jeremiah says, (READ Jer. 12:1-2a).  Jeremiah and Habakkuk sound similar (READ Hab. 1:12-13).  The rest of the passage in Jeremiah 12 is him telling God, “I know you will deal with the wicked, and here is how I want it done.”

E.  Do you ever tell God how things should be done?  Lots of people have in the Bible.  Abraham and Moses both tried to use human logic to have God take certain actions.  Peter would argue with Jesus about going to Jerusalem, to the point Jesus had to say to him, “Get behind me Satan.”


I.  Habakkuk’s View of God.

A.  Let’s walk through these two verse (12-13) and see how Habakkuk views God.  The first thing he does is ask a question in the negative.  Habakkuk believes with all his heart that God is eternal and holy.  He doesn’t deny that God has every right to do as He sees it right, but that doesn’t keep from asking God how.

B.  The people of Judah have sinned.  There is a need for discipline, even punishment, but how God will do that is beyond what Habakkuk thinks is fair and right.

C.  He describes God as everlasting, holy, and the Rock.  God is God.  God is holy and the Rock, the Protector.

D.  In the mind of Habakkuk, since God is holy, he cannot look upon wickedness, so how can He look use something more wicked to punish some less wicked?

E.  Sit with this for just a moment.  We who are here today believe in God and love the grace extended to us through the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection.  We know that God is outside of time and space as we know it – God is Spirit.  With that knowledge we know that God needs to discipline us when we sin just like a parent does their child.  It is for our sake that God does not leave us in the sinful mire we place ourselves.  No one likes discipline, child or adult.  We don’t deny the need, but we don’t like the action that is need to discipline us.  So we seek to compare our actions with someone who had done worse, hoping that will change the manner of the discipline.


II.  The Fisherman

A.  Habakkuk then feels the need to describe to God what these Chaldeans are like.  He uses the idea of a fisherman.  Now I have to tell you, I understand this illustration, but dislike that the fisherman is the bad guy.  This not PETA or “Save the Whales.”  We are talking about how the Babylonians treat other people.  (READ vs 14-17)

B.  The complaint against God is that should not use more wicked to punish less wicked, and He should know that those people will glory in their greatness and honor false gods

C.  Let me start the illustration exactly has Habakkuk does.  He begins by saying all people, in comparison to the Babylonians, are like small fish in the sea.  The point most of the other nations that have fallen to the Babylonians had no real leadership as a country and no military might.  But little Judah is God’s chosen people.  If anyone does have a great leader it is them, with God as their “King.”  God has often defended Israel against more powerful foes in the past, but this time is sitting back watching these wicked people exalt their own greatness.  God has made people weak before an evil power and is doing nothing to help.

D.  The fisherman goes out and uses his hook or his net and takes in a great catch because the fisherman is greater than the fish.  Yet, the fisherman, in this example, does something that many fisherman today kind of do.  In the illustration, the fisherman (Babylon) treats his net like a god, an idol.  The net, in this case, is their own power and might.  The Babylonians see themselves as living in the lap of luxury because their gods have granted them power.

E.  Habakkuk’s point:  Is that really what you want promoted throughout the world?  Do you really want false gods, idols, to be more popular than you?  God, will you really allow Babylon to keep on killing without mercy?



A.  In almost arrogance, Habakkuk makes his stand.  Listen to Hab. 2:1.  Habakkuk had argued his case and now waits to see if God will answer.  He is like the watchman who looks for sign of an approaching enemy.  He is ready to tell his people that the enemy is coming and to flee.

B. I put my hope and trust in God even when I can’t understand Him.  I know there are enemies so much greater than me that I will fall before them if God does not save me.  But I trust that I will not die.  I may face harsh discipline, but I trust God’s bigger plan for me is what is best.

C.  If we can help you build your trust in God and would like us pray for you, then come as we sing.