Incy Wincy Spider
“What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web. They lean on the web, but it gives way; they cling to it, but it does not hold.”
Job 8:14-15 (NIV UK)
This summer has been good for spiders throughout the British Isles.
From “Daddy longlegs” to house spiders to spitting spiders to false widow spiders and more, it’s been a productive year. It’s been speculated that their increase in numbers is due to warmer than usual climate conditions.
The other day I moved a chair in our small patio and accidentally broke the web of a garden spider. The spider was still in the middle of the web: a beautiful specimen, maybe about 15 millimetres, browny-orange with a white cross on its back, looking like something imagined in an arachnophobic nightmare. But harmless, of course. It tried to go up the chair again, and reminded me of the nursery rhyme “Incy Wincy Spider” or “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, that praises the persistence of spiders in climbing up walls despite the obstacles that come their way.
In the passage above putting one’s trust in godless lifestyles and plans is compared to looking for lasting support in a spider’s web. Although spiders spin fantastic webs that are strong enough to entrap insects and other prey, the reality is that their webs are flimsy and can be brushed away or torn apart easily. Job had gone through a terrible trial, and his friend, Bildad the Shuhite, told him that the problem was that Job’s trust was not in God. Job disagreed with Bildad’s accusation, and felt he had put his faith in God, but that’s another story. In order to reinforce his point, Bildad used the analogy of the spider’s web. This idea is developed further in Isaiah 59:4-5: when leaders “rely on empty arguments and speak lies”, they “spin a spider’s web”.
I guess we all weave our own self-protective tangled webs at time, or rely on what others around us may have spun. We talk about “spin doctors”, people who want the public to trust in their questionable interpretations of events. Bildad’s message still stands: don’t put your trust in godless ideas – rather trust in God.
So next time you wince as that itsy bitsy spider inches its way towards you, or wonder at the beauty of a web sparkling in the early morning sun, or dust away the cobwebs in the corner, think of God. Think about being persistent in relying on God alone.
Father, thank you for the lessons we can learn from your creation, and help us though Christ to put our trust always in you. In Jesus name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. This weekend James in speaking in our Watford congregation. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.