We may have little regard for the cunning spider, but if the spider is important enough to be included in God’s Word, it must of sufficient importance to bear meditating upon. How many people do you know, common or exalted, who live in a king’s palace? Perhaps you know no one personally, or, at best, maybe one. Certainly, it is to be hoped that you know at least One – the King of Kings!
God uses the spider, as He does the lowly ant, to teach us lessons that we larger species often fail take note of – these are lessons of great importance for they are the lessons of life itself. Like the ant, the spider is industrious and persevering. Christians SHOULD be of the same disposition. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Eccl 9:10) God gives us life for a purpose, and that purpose is not to while it away on the sofa! We are to use the life God has given us to accomplish purposeful tasks – tasks that of which the Lord approves. We have the inspiration of the Holy Ghost as our helpmate in all our Godly tasks. We are not to have a fickle attitude toward those labors to which He has called us but persevering. The evidence of our salvation is demonstrated in the way we serve. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt 24:13) So at least two things we learn from God’s creative genius that He has imparted to the spider is diligence and perseverance.
The spider does not begin to build her silken home before assessing the foundations of her web and the traffic necessary to feed her family. She chooses sturdy branches on either side of a well-beaten path upon which to affix her strings of silk. It is not a haphazardly conceived structure, but very well planned out with wisdom and cunning. I once knew a man who built a house in my hometown on property that he discovered later that he did not own. I read of people in parts of our great land that choose the soft slopes of mountains upon which to build and, then, with every flood, the homes are destroyed by mudslides. Yet, they rebuild again in the same spot. “24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” (Matt 7:24-27)
Anyone who has closely examined a spider’s web will admit that the spider is an accomplished mathematician and engineer. He divides the segments of his web in near perfect equals. He designs the web in such a way that each strand gives the maximum support to the whole. He most often labors under cover of darkness as a great army moves into position for a surprise attack. His victims did not witness the building of the web until they are caught in its intricate strands. The garden spider uses two different types of threads – the one called mooring cables that are not sticky, but anchor the structure that is constructed by the silken threads into the maze that entraps creatures that fly into it unknowingly. In a certain sense, the spider also does the devil’s work in presenting an innocent-appearing environment into which unsuspecting youth fall prey through neglect of care for their souls. The inner maze of threads are coated by the spider with a super, glue-like substance which immediately captures any insects that contacts it.
Did you know that each strand of the spider’s web is composed of about 5,000 smaller strands joined together? This adds to the strength of the web significantly and is a brilliant engineering feat.
Another characteristic of the spider is that they are vigilant. They have a heart for their labors, and a set of six or eight eyes that are always open to see the prey. “27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Acts 28:27) Because the lackluster Christian has no heart for his duties to God and man, he closes his eyes to the wretched condition of others around him, and to the truth of God’s Word.
The spider is highly sensitive to atmospheric conditions. When rain is approaching, he will usually retire to his ‘parlor’ and await the coming sunshine. He loves light more than darkness. The sinner and luke-warm Christian demonstrate just the opposite nature” “19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)
Though tiny and lowly, the spider does not hesitate to approach the king’s palace to make his abode there. Many greater beings are fearful to approach the king’s palace, but the spider has the audacity, as a forlorn sinner, to approach the king and makes his home with him. The sinner is often hesitate to approach the Mercy Seat for fear that his sins are too great, but the Savior is greater than any sins we bear; and He has the power and authority to forgive ALL. He will welcome the worst of repentant sinners to come and make his abode with Him. In fact, we need not move from our place, the Lord will come and live with us if we receive Him. See what the Lord says to Zacchaeus: “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.” (Luke 19:5)
It matters not if spider, ant, leviathan, or whatever other creature God has made; if God is with you and the creature he has chosen for your rescue, any such creature can be used of God to accomplish His desires. There are varied accounts of the following story, but I have chosen this one which seems to be of greatest antiquity:
“A young soldier found himself in a terrible battle during the Scottish Reformation. The enemy was soundly defeating this young man’s army. He and his comrades found themselves hastily retreating from the battle field in defeat, running away in fear of their very lives. The enemy gave chase. This young man ran hard and fast, full of fear and desperation, soon found himself cut off from his comrades in arms.
“He eventually came upon a rocky ledge containing a cave. Knowing the enemy was close behind, and that he was exhausted from the chase, chose to hide there. After he crawled in, he fell to his face in the darkness, desperately crying to God to save him and protect him from his enemies. He also made a bargain with God. He promised that if God saved him, he would serve Him for the remainder of his days.
“When he looked up from his despairing plea for help, he saw a spider beginning to weave its web at the entrance to the cave. As he watched the delicate threads being slowly drawn across the mouth of the cave, the young soldier pondered its irony. He thought, “I asked God for protection and deliverance, and he sent me a spider instead. How can a spider save me?”
“His heart was hardened, knowing the enemy would soon discover his hiding place and kill him.
And soon he did hear the sound of his enemies, who were now scouring the area looking for those in hiding. One soldier with a gun slowly walked up to the cave’s entrance. As the young man crouched in the darkness, hoping to surprise the enemy in a last-minute desperate attempt to save his own life, he felt his heart pounding wildly out of control.
“As the enemy cautiously moved forward to enter the cave, he came upon the spider’s web, which by now was completely strung across the opening. He backed away and called out to a comrade, “There can’t be anyone in here. They would have had to break this spider’s web to enter the cave. Let’s move on.”
“Years later, this young man, who made good his promise by becoming a preacher and evangelist, wrote about that ordeal. He wrote:
“Where God is, a spider’s web is as a stone wall. Where God is not, a stone wall is as a spider’s web.”
Have you learned any lesson from the spider, friend?
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. AMEN