They…weave a spider’s web — Charles H Spurgeon
[July 24, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
See the spider’s web, and behold in it a most suggestive picture of the hypocrite’s religion. It is meant to catch his prey: the spider fattens himself on flies, and the Pharisee has his reward.
Foolish persons are easily entrapped by the loud professions of pretenders, and even the more judicious cannot always escape. Philip baptized Simon Magus, whose guileful declaration of faith was so soon exploded by the stern rebuke of Peter. Custom, reputation, praise, advancement, and other flies, are the small game which hypocrites take in their nets. A spider’s web is a marvel of skill: look at it and admire the cunning hunter’s wiles. Is not a deceiver’s religion equally wonderful?
How does he make so barefaced a lie appear to be a truth? How can he make his tinsel answer so well the purpose of gold? A spider’s web comes all from the creature’s own bowels. The bee gathers her wax from flowers, the spider sucks no flowers, and yet she spins out her material to any length. Even so hypocrites find their trust and hope within themselves; their anchor was forged on their own anvil, and their cable twisted by their own hands. They lay their own foundation, and hew out the pillars of their own house, disdaining to be debtors to the sovereign grace of God.
But a spider’s web is very frail. It is curiously wrought, but not enduringly manufactured. It is no match for the servant’s broom, or the traveller’s staff. The hypocrite needs no battery of Armstrongs to blow his hope to pieces, a mere puff of wind will do it. Hypocritical cobwebs will soon come down when the besom [broom] of destruction begins its purifying work. Which reminds us of one more thought, viz., that such cobwebs are not to be endured in the Lord’s house: he will see to it that they and those who spin them shall be destroyed for ever.
O my soul, be thou resting on something better than a spider’s web. Be the Lord Jesus thine eternal hiding-place. (“They weave the spider’s web.” [Internet Archive link]
Modern Adaptation by Jim Reimann
A spider’s web is the symbolic picture of a hypocrite’s so-called faith. It is designed to catch his prey, so just as the spider fattens himself on flies, the hypocritical Pharisee gets his reward. Foolish people are easily entrapped by the loud declarations of false believers, and even the most discerning does not always escape. Philip baptized Simon the Sorcerer, whose false profession of faith was quickly exploded by the stern rebuke of Peter. (See Acts 8:9-24.) Tradition, reputation, praise, advancement, and other “flies” are the small prey hypocrites trap in their nets. Look at the spider’s web and admire the cunning craftiness of the hunter, for the web is skillfully and wonderfully woven. Doesn’t a deceiver’s false faith appear equally wonderful?
How does he make such a bald-faced lie appear to be truth? How can he make his flimsy foil of an answer seem to be as pure as solid gold? The spider’s web comes completely from within its own bowels as opposed to the bee that gathers its wax from flowers. The spider takes nothing from a flower yet spins out the material for its web to any length it needs. Likewise, hypocrites find their trust and hope only within themselves. Their anchor is forged on their own anvil and the anchor’s chain is twisted into shape by their own hands. They lay their own foundation and fashion the pillars of their own house, rejecting with disgust the idea of being a debtor to the sovereign grace of God.
However, a spider’s web is fragile and frail. Yes, it is wonderfully formed, but it is not made to endure. It is not a match to someone’s walking cane or even a janitor’s broom. The hypocrite needs no battery of Armstrong artillery guns to blow his hope to pieces, for a mere puff of wind will do it. Hypocritical cobwebs will be quickly removed when the broom of destruction begins its purifying work, which brings up another thought, namely this: such cobwebs of deception will never be tolerated in the Lord’s house. The Lord Himself will see to it that the cobwebs, along with those who spin them, will be destroyed forever.
“O my soul” (Ps 103:2), rest on something better than a spider’s web. May the Lord Jesus be your eternal hiding place.
Thanks to MaxGrace, one of our readers, for bringing this devotional to our attention!
[July 24, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to July 24, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to July 24, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to July 24, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 24, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]