Caught Up in the Spider's Web
I looked up into the eave of my home recently and saw a magnificent spider’s web. I was astonished at the handiwork. This intelligent insect is a master architect. It is as if he is well versed in geometry and mathematics. What a wondrous web he did spin! The pattern is meticulously produced and the measurements are laid out to perfection. One swing of the broom would have swept away the spider’s work but I felt no urge to destroy her weave.
I know her diligence. Were I to destroy her web she would set to work right away to spin her masterpiece again. It would be replaced in short time. There is so much to learn from such a small creature. She chose to build in the eave of my house but spiders are not particular about where they hang their threads. They stretch them between the saplings in the woods. They wander into barns and garages but they are just as likely to be found in the palaces of kings or the mansions of the wealthy. “The spider takes hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.” – Proverbs 30:28
The secret of the web’s strength is in the protein that forms the silk thread. The more fibers spun the stronger the web. U.S. Army researchers have discovered that a spider’s line of silk can be stretched 30% to 50% before it breaks. It is stronger than steel and is similar to Kevlar in its strength. The army has used its research of the spider’s silk to design bullet proof vests and unbreakable tethers.
The web is a reminder of the sin we get entangled in. Sir Walter Scott wrote, “Oh the web we weave, When we first practice to deceive.”
I returned several days later to observe the spider’s web in my eave. She had captured a fly. She spun her fibers around her prisoner until the fly was rendered helpless, wrapped in elastic steel. And then I observed the spider recede to the corner of her web and patiently wait another victim. The fly struggled and fought to free itself. At first, it resisted with great energy. Its writhing body caused the web to bounce like a trampoline. But finally it was exhausted and it succumbed to its fate, no longer struggling but accepting as hopeless any possibility of escape.
When Satan catches a victim in his sinful web he allows them to struggle to free themselves until they are weary and weak. He then moves in to bind them with more steel cords of sin. They don’t feel alarmed when one cord binds them, they could break free if they chose. They then fall into habitual sin, continually telling themselves that they could break free anytime they choose. How many times have you heard the alcoholic or the pornographer declare their ability to quit anytime?
Satan binds them and then retreats to perform more dastardly deeds upon others. He is confident that his victim is secured and cannot escape. He is amused when he sees the victim attempt to free himself. He anticipates that one day he will move in for the final kill but until then he savors the thought of it.
Have you ever prayed earnestly for the salvation of some pour soul? Days turn to weeks and weeks to years and years to decades and still this wretched soul flounders through life without God. Another precious heart is caught in the sinful steel web spun by Satan. They have been bound for years, for decades, and they cannot free themselves. They finally stop resisting and simply accept their fate. They have no fight left in them as the sin fibers bind their soul. They seem rather complacent now in their web. It is as if it has become their home. They take in seeing other victims who are also bound and incapable of escape. They share a common fate and in a twisted and warped way, they feel a common bond as they share their depressing predicament.
Our prayers are often answered when they are aligned with the will of God. There is great comfort to be found in the verse that says, “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:15) But God is not obligated to answer every prayer or save every soul. Hell is populated by millions who never tasted of the salvation of God. So, if He is unwilling that any should perish, why are there so many in hell?
The only reasonable explanation is either that God predestines some to hell and some to salvation or he grants man the gift of free will and man’s salvation is purchased by the sacrifice of the Son. I can’t picture God forcing his gift of love on anyone, does he not allow us to choose to repent and receive salvation and adoption into the family? If we reject his provision do we not thereby secure our own destiny of eternal separation from God?
Those caught in the Satan’s web cannot free themselves. They struggle in vain. They are held captive, sometimes for an entire lifetime, until Satan comes in for the final kill and takes them away to an eternal death.
Here is the good news! There is One who can break the power of sin. "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." (John 6:65) The Father will call. He wants us to desire to be delivered. If we so desire we must then seek our deliverance through the Son. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)
The grace and the power of God is stronger than steel, stronger than Kevlar. “ He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free; His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me” (Charles Wesley)