“Now I will spread My net over you
With a company of many peoples,
And they shall lift you up in My net,” (32:3).
Ezekiel had previously been instructed to recite a lamentation composed for the entire nation of Egypt (chapter 30). And today, another lament is to be voiced, but this dirge is to recognize only one. One who thought he was untouchable, one who was convinced in his own prowess, like that of the strutting king of the forest in battle. But what the Pharaoh would come to understand is that it never matters how we see ourselves; it is only the opinion of the King of the Universe that will prevail.
And while Pharaoh may have remained convinced of his lion-like invincibility, God would take him out of his realm of polluted power, apprehending him as a fisherman spreading his net for his catch, and lifting it up to its decided fate. And Pharaoh would be left to flop on dry land, like a fish out of water, at the mercy of the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth.
“You compared yourself to a young lion of the nations,
Yet you are like the monster in the seas;
And you burst forth in your rivers
And muddied the waters with your feet
And fouled their rivers.’”
3 Thus says the Lord God, “Now I will spread My net over you
With a company of many peoples,
And they shall lift you up in My net.
4 “I will leave you on the land;
I will cast you on the open field.
And I will cause all the birds of the heavens to dwell on you,
And I will satisfy the beasts of the whole earth with you,” (32:2-4).
All Pharaoh’s armies, all his military might, would be impotent to prevent the hand of Almighty God, and it would send shock waves through the hearts of all who heard.
“I will also trouble the hearts of many peoples when I bring your destruction among the nations, into lands which you have not known. 10 I will make many peoples appalled at you, and their kings will be horribly afraid of you when I brandish My sword before them; and they will tremble every moment, every man for his own life, on the day of your fall,.” (32:9-10).
And God would use the king of Babylon to bring the pride of this sea monster to his destruction.
For thus says the Lord God, “The sword of the king of Babylon will come upon you. 12 By the swords of the mighty ones I will cause your hordes to fall; all of them are tyrants of the nations,
And they will devastate the pride of Egypt,
And all its hordes will be destroyed,” (32:11-12).
The devastation would be sweeping, and it would culminate with that one who was so confident and content in his beautiful achievements, joining the fate of the uncircumcised.
“Whom do you surpass in beauty?
Go down and make your bed with the uncircumcised,” (32:19).
Eight times God would refer to what awaits Pharaoh as He Will Spread His Net to bring Pharaoh to his decided fate where he will join the uncircumcised (vs. 24,25,26,27,28,29,30,32), representing those who had no part in God’s Covenant.
Pharaoh would join the uncircumcised; he would join those fallen heroes who had been merciless in spreading and instilling terror in the land of the living; he would join those who would be broken, slain by the sword and bear their disgrace; he would join those who go down to the pit.
Consider Him Who Will Spread His Net
This metaphor of fishing is used in reference to the ones who remain outside His Covenant, who will be gathered and brought up to His judgment: and it also addresses those who will be gathered by His Covenant of grace and brought up to His salvation.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; 48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” (Matthew 13:47-50).
He Will Spread His Net and bring the uncircumcised of heart to their decided fate. All those who refuse to enter into Covenant with Holy God through faith in His Word will be caught and gathered to His judgment
The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made;
In the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16 The Lord has made Himself known;
He has executed judgment.
In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared, (Psalm 9:15-16).
And those who have trusted Christ will come into Covenant with Him Who Will Spread His Net, bringing believers to eternal life and calling them to follow Him as He makes them fishers of men, that others would also be brought into relationship with Him through faith.
Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men,” (Matthew 4:18-19).
How do we respond to Him Who Will Spread His Net?
Eternity. Heaven. Hell. God spoke of each one, and not as allegories but realities. Yes, we can persist in believing we are safe in our own prowess, strutting through life depending on our beauty, successes and talents. But He Will Spread His Net. And when He separates the fish, where will our decided fate bring us?
For the only thing that our own beauty, successes, or talents can ever earn is death. But when we place our faith in His free gift of salvation, He promises us that He Will Spread His Net to bring us to eternal life in Christ.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 6:23).
Today is a day to examine which Net He has Spread over us. And both require a decision.
There is only One Way we can be spared from His Net of Judgment; only One Way He Will Spread His Net of salvation over us. It is as we believe that Jesus is the One Way to enter into the Father’s Covenant relationship.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” (John 14:6).
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:30-31).
Oh, what a joy to be counted among “the good fish,” to be secure in our eternity with Him forever. But may we never forget, there are other fish that will be “thrown into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
And it is not the job of pastors and preachers alone to go fishing. When we place our faith in Christ and follow Him, He will make us fishers of men. So it seems the question we must ask ourselves is, are we truly following Him?
Oh, let us ask Him Who Will Spread His Net to burden our hearts for the lost, that we might become like Paul, and lament missed opportunities to share the gospel. Oh, may we grow in our compulsion to become fishers of men that we might be used by Him to Spread His Net of salvation.
For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel, (1 Corinthians 9:16).