Near as I can tell, the nations is generally meant as a contrast to “the people of God.” It’s mention generally seems to be in phrases like “the nations took their stand against God” and “the nations raged against God and His Anointed” and other such. The term the nations seems, in fact, to be a parallel to what the believer often terms the world. It’s not that either one is a specific group of people per se, but that each is a group of people bound by a particular set of beliefs and goals and such. The goyim (the nations) and the kosmos (the world) are both hostile toward God in their thoughts and actions.
So I really shouldn’t be surprised to find that these folks find themselves caught in the pit that they dug and snared in the net they put together. But what does that even mean? The way I understand it — and this is just my understanding, it could be totally wrong — is that the traps that the world lays for believers often catch the world up in them. For example, the world sets traps of intellectualism and entices believers to know about something or another. The world invites the believer to study and puts emphasis on those words — knowledge, study, intellect, academics — as if they were inherently valuable. Those things are all excellent, but only if we take them out of the rarefied atmosphere of Academia and apply that knowledge to transmute it to wisdom and study problems with an eye toward solving them and use our intellect to do so. Academia is, I think, one of the nations that has dug a pit or set a snare for believers. In a twist befitting my God, He turns it all on its head and those who set the traps are caught in them. Those who, possibly inadvertently, as mercenaries for Academia find themselves caught in the traps of Academia and fighting beneath its banners. Why does that spring to mind? I suspect because I spent several years as a teacher and was able to see the traps set by Academia. This is not to say that all educators are mercenaries or champions of Academia — most of the teachers I know champion academics as a means to an end, not as an end unto itself — but to say that the net of academics for academics’ sake is always present. This is equally true of things like television and comic books and video games (including and perhaps especially mobile games) which have the ever-present nets of obsession and neglect of life lurking about. Much of life is potentially a pit into which the believer might fall. I’ve seen in myself the temptation to fall into the pit of preferring work to home. It is not always there, but when home life is difficult and work life is cut-and-dry then the temptation puts in an appearance.
The nets of the world and the pits that it digs are all over the place. It’s like a back yard (garden, to the Brits) full of holes because the dog has been trying to catch a gopher. If I’m not watchful then I’m likely to injure myself by stepping into one of those holes. There was a schtick in a video game I once played where the staircase disappeared behind you. The pits of the world are like that. One or two steps in, you can probably get out fairly easily. Few more and you’re jumping to escape. Few more and you’re in serious danger of falling deeper into the pit if you don’t manage to scramble up the side. After that, you need Someone (*cough*God*cough*) to get you out because there is no practicable way of getting yourself out without help.
There are two things I take from this. One, I need to be watchful for the pits and nets that the world has scattered around. They may seem harmless and they will likely have disappearing staircases that make it seem like I’ll be bale to get back out any time I want. Until I’m too far in and the stairs have dissolved behind me. I need to watch for them and stay away from them when I see them. Two, the world sets itself against God and God turns the world’s strategies against it. The world digs pits and sets snares and the world’s own get caught in them. Sometimes, this leads those caught to call out for help. And God is very willing to help them. I’ve heard and read stories of academics coming to faith because they got far enough into the weeds of Academia and learned something that, to their mind, demanded the existence of God. I’ve read of people’s obsession with games going so far that they lose everything but their own lives. I hope that those stories sometimes end with the person calling out to God for help.
Let me avoid the pits and nets that the world uses to try to catch me up and hinder my walk with God. And let me also offer hope to those in the world who have been caught in the world’s traps — those traps were not meant for them and there is a God Who is only too happy to get people out of the world’s pits and nets.