In order for most spiders to survive and gather (catch) food, they must spin webs and locate in areas of insect travel. Have you ever wondered how the first spider knew to do this amazing feat of architecture? What led them to believe the substance coming out of their spinnerets could (would) suffice for food catching capabilities? Have you ever taken time to watch a spider construct their web? Words like 'amazing' and 'stunning' don't really do justice to these high wire aerialists. Usually, the first couple lines of web are floated toward a tree or fence post. After attaching these few support webs, the spider begins an intricate design and works quickly to build its insect catching tool. Never fails that practically ever trial I hike is inundated with spiders waiting for food, except all they catch is a sweaty hiker! No joke, have you ever felt spider web stretch across your face? Yup! Yuck!!
We know the rest of the story that some unsuspecting insect flies through the air, into the sticky stuff, and well,.....gets devoured. The whole catching, biting, liquefying insect internals, and extraction of the same is a little weird to be discussing in a blog.
Anyhow, I share all this to consider the poem by Mary Howitt, "The Spider and the Fly". On the surface it would appear that spiders are cunning, blood thirsty, and ruthless. Correct on all fronts and by design! More to be considered is how naive and careless the fly became in this poetic drama. The spider was simply doing what it was created to do. It was catching sustenance. The fly, on the other hand, succumbed to enticing words of flattery and deception.
Not demonizing spiders in any way but they could be characterized as such. I mean, spiders use invisible media and sit concealed nearby waiting for said insect to flutter to their demise. Satan often flatters and deceives those who seek to follow Jesus and often with horrifying success. Spiders --- Satan, both use the same tactics.
Consider how scripture describes Satan. Terms like: 'murderer, deceiver, father of lies' all reveal the devil's truest intentions for you and me. There is always a certain allure to whatever temptation the devil places in front of us. I remember a former pastor in my youth often described Satan as NOT some ugly, red, horned, grotesque looking thing but rather anything that catches the eye and draws us in through deception. Pastor Jones wasn't wrong. He nailed it.
Have we walked through a day and considered those things that grabbed our attention? What media was used to gain our trust? How were words and images communicated to draw us toward a situation or product? What does our heart and mind seek? If our answer describes those tangible things that lead us toward God then our life is focused. If our response would reveal us succumbing to flattering words and deception, then we would soon find ourselves dangling from a web of lies and thereafter a stinging bite.
The difference between Jesus and Satan is markedly different. I heard you just say, "DUH!." The former seeks to save and present us before God blameless. The latter seeks to deceive, disable, and accuse us before God. See the difference? Hope so. It's pretty day and night comparatively speaking. Today, we'll choose to guard our heart and mind. Let's listen and look for things that lead us toward holiness and hope. Let's defend against flattering words, deceptions, and temptations that look innocent on the surface, maybe even inviting. Jesus nailed his description of the devil's schemes. He reminded his audience (and us) that there is nothing good about the outcome when we are led away from holy toward hell. (Life or death?) Tough choice, huh?
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a
murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he
speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44, NIV)
"A Musing Pastor"