BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
An antelope in a net is an antelope that is trapped. It is an antelope that is in a snare. It is an antelope that is in a cage whose liberty and movement has been curtailed. A net, a trap, a cage is not the natural habitat of an antelope neither is it the natural habitat of a lion, a bird or any animal.
A dictionary describes an antelope as an African animal like a deer that runs very fast. From this description, it is clear that one thing that aptly describes an antelope is speed. An antelope is synonymous with swiftness. But Isa 51:20 says “Your sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, like an antelope in a net; they are full of the fury of the LORD, The rebuke of your God” (NKJV).
From this scripture, the Lord gave me a revelation recently: An antelope in a net! Though an antelope is a swift animal, once it is caught in a net, it becomes ineffective as far as swiftness is concerned. It is no better than a snail!
Different Nets of life
The Lord told me this is the condition of a lot of people today. Just as an antelope is born to run, we were born to run and should be running but unfortunately, many are already caught in a net hence they have become ineffective. Many are in different kinds of nets – financial net, marital net, career net, ancestral net, etc. The effect is that they have become ineffective.
An antelope caught in a net. Just as a net is not the natural habitat of an antelope, many are in the wrong places in life and have been trapped. Just as animals are caged in a zoo, many have been caged in the zoo of life. Their adversaries are there gazing and laughing at them. The enemy hid the net for them and they entered into it (Ps 35:7). The psalmist says in Ps 140:5, “Proud men have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path” (NIV). Sometimes the snare is by the wicked. Ps 119:110 says, “The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts” (NIV). Jer 5:26 also says, “Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch men” (NIV).
And sometimes the net is spread by a brother – someone close to the victim. “The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains. All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net” (Micah 7:2 NIV). Sometimes it is people’s sins that put them in the net of their enemies. Some people, it is their mouths that put them in their enemies’ net. “A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul” (Prov 18:7 NIV).
Until people are released from the net, they shall never be able to run; they shall never be able to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. “A trap seizes him by the heel; a snare holds him fast” (Job 18:9 NIV). How can such people run when their heels are seized in the enemy’s trap? How can they run fast when a snare holds them fast? No one will make it as long as such a fellow is caught in a net.
What happens to an antelope in a net?
1.Unrealized potentials: An antelope in a net is a man or woman who has great potential, holds great promises but will never amount to much because he or she is in a trap.
An antelope in a net is a man or woman whose progress and movement in life has been stalled by demonic forces, contrary situations. Such a person goes round in circles like an antelope caught in a net goes round the net never being able to come out. Such an antelope does all its running just within the space allowed by the net. How much space do you think it has to run inside a net? No space really compared to the ability and potentials it has. Running on the same spot will only wear a man or woman out; going round in circles will lead a man nowhere. There is motion but no movement; he or she is busy but has nothing to show for it; sweating and still impoverished. He does so much but gets little or nothing for all his or her efforts.
An antelope in a net! – Great potential that never becomes a reality. The children of Israel were in such a situation; not making progress – a lot of dissipation of energy was going on. For many days they compassed round Mount Seir – an unproductive venture. “And the LORD spake unto me, saying, Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward” (Deut 2:2-3 KJV). Until God spoke and showed them the direction to go they couldn’t make any progress.
2. Unfruitfulness and Fainting: “Our sons have fainted; they lie at the head of every street, like antelope caught in a net” (Isa 51:20 NIV). Another thing that a man or woman caught in a net experiences is fainting. Being in a net doing the same thing again and again without any progress results in fainting; unfruitfulness is frustrating. Man is created for fruitfulness biologically, spiritually, materially, financially, etc. You were created for fruitfulness not bareness. Gen 1:22 says, “God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth’” (NIV). Gen 1:28, 8:17, 9:1 and 9:7 all express the same expectation – fruitfulness and increase – for mankind especially YOU.
3. Stagnation: An antelope in a net is a man or woman who has been confined to the familiar never experiencing anything new. Inside a net, a man or woman only marks time, wastes his time and life and sees the same things he or she has been seeing over the years. Yet the Lord says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isa 43:19 NIV). In a net a man or woman never experiences new things God desires for his or her life; such a person lives with things that should have become former things.
4. Helplessness: “For your children have fainted and lie in the streets, helpless as antelopes caught in a net. The Lord has poured out his fury; God has rebuked them” (Isa 51:20 NLT). From this version of the Scripture, we see helplessness as another feature of being caught in a net. When a man or woman is caught in a net, he becomes helpless. A man or woman caught in net needs help because he cannot help himself or herself.
David understood what it is to be caught in a net and knew only the help of the Lord could get a man out. That is why he said in Ps 124:1-5: “If the LORD had not been on our side– let Israel say– if the LORD had not been on our side when men attacked us, when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away” (NIV). David describes how they got out of the net: “Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Ps 124:6-8 NIV). It was the name of the Lord that made help available to them to escape. That is what an antelope in a net needs too. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and they are safe (Prov 18:10).
What you need
Your present condition may be that you are in a net. You have been on the same spot for months or years repeating failures. You are tired of the situation – that’s what one experiences when one is in a net. You have done all you know to do but no change. That is what happens when someone is in a net.
What you need is the help of God; He must intervene in your situation and break the snare; the net that has held you captive, bound, on the same spot must be destroyed and your liberty must be restored to you.
You must not give up; you need to step up your prayer. “Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler” (Prov 6:4-5 NIV). If you will pray warfare prayer, I see the Lord setting you free from every net you are in. Ps 91:3 says, “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare” (NIV). You must cry to the Lord for deliverance. Rom 10:13 says whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. “My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare” (Ps 25:15 NIV). If you cry to the Lord today, I believe he will change your name from an antelope caught in a net to Naphtali! “Naphtali is a deer let loose; He uses beautiful words” (Gen 49:21 NKJV). Your antelope or deer will be let loose.
Conclusion: If you desire true deliverance from the net you are in now; if you want your antelope to begin to run or to run once again, I urge you to pray the prayer at the end of this message. But before you do that, if you are not born again, you must give your life to Jesus. The greatest impediment to a man’s progress in life is the net of sin.
I urge you to accept Jesus into your life by saying this prayer: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my LORD and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
1.I repent of and confess every sin which has put me in the net of the enemy. I receive God’s forgiveness.
2. O LORD my God, release my feet from the enemy’s net. Deliver me O Lord from every net of the enemy I am in at the moment.
You net of the enemy that has kept me on the same spot in life – that has restricted me in life – I tear you into pieces right now in Jesus’ name. I command my destiny to run; I command my destiny to gain divine speed.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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