They weave the spider's web. — Isa 59:5
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 people are easily entrapped by the loud professions of pretenders, and even the more judicious cannot always escape. Philip baptized Simon Magus, whose deceitful 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 adept? 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 traveler’s staff. The hypocrite needs no great force to blow his hope to pieces—a mere puff of wind will do it. Hypocritical cobwebs will soon come down when the broom of destruction begins its purifying work.
Which reminds us of one more thought, namely, 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 resting on something better than a spider’s web. The Lord Jesus is your eternal hiding-place!
All things are possible to him that believeth. — Mark 9:23
Many professed Christians are always doubting and fearing and they forlornly think that this is the necessary state of believers. This is a mistake, for “all things are possible to him who believes”; and it is possible for us to mount into a state in which a doubt or a fear shall be but as a bird of passage flitting across the soul but never lingering there.
When you read of the high and sweet communions enjoyed by favored saints, you sigh and murmur in the chamber of your heart, “Alas! these are not for me!” O climber, if you have but faith, you shall yet stand upon the sunny pinnacle of the temple, for “all things are possible to him who believes.” You hear of exploits which holy men have done for Jesus; what they have enjoyed of Him; how much they have been like Him; how they have been able to endure great persecutions for His sake; and you say, “Ah! as for me, I am but a worm; I can never attain to this!” But there is nothing which one saint was, that you may not be.
There is no elevation of grace, no attainment of spirituality, no clearness of assurance, no post of duty—which is not open to you, if you have but the power to believe. Lay aside your sackcloth and ashes, and rise to the dignity of your true position; you are little in Israel—because you will be so, not because there is any necessity for it. It is not fit that you should grovel in the dust, O child of a King. Ascend! The golden throne of assurance is waiting for you! The crown of communion with Jesus is ready to bedeck your brow. Wrap yourself in scarlet and fine linen, and eat sumptuously every day! For if you Believe, you may eat the choicest of wheat; your land shall flow with milk and honey, and your soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness. Gather golden sheaves of grace, for they await you in the fields of faith. “All things are possible to him who believes.”