Tuesday, September 18, 2012
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Most of us know that quote, right? And we assert forcefully that it is Shakespeare – but we are wrong. It is written by Sir Walter Scott, in his epic poem called “Marmion.” Regardless of the author, we get the meaning, don’t we? Lies beget lies. The further lies we tell to try and cover up the previous ones cause us to entangle ourselves in deception.
What an analogy – the spider’s web, and telling lies. And by extension, the poor, maligned spider. There is truth of course, and lessons learned. I struggle with the temptation to tell a little white lie, because it protects someone. Then I remember Frank Sinatra’s line in “Little White Lies,” “The devil was in your heart, while heaven was in your eyes, the night you told me those little white lies.” The best motivations do not negate the fact that lies are lies, a tangled web of deceit.
Recently I heard another story about a spider web though – one that turns my thoughts to God, and His five word promise repeated throughout the Bible: “I will be with you.” There are many ways that God says the same thing: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” from Hebrews; earlier in Deuteronomy, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Perhaps the most familiar words in the Bible from Psalm 23, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”
So what does this have to do with a spider’s web, you may ask. Here is the story. A soldier was being chased by the enemy, until finally, exhausted, he took refuge in a cave. He prayed to God to deliver him, but he saw was a small spider, beginning to weave a web across the entrance to the cave. The soldier scoffed at a God who would offer the protection of a flimsy web – until he heard the voice of his enemy passing by, speaking to a comrade – “No need to examine this cave. No one has entered, for look, here is a spider’s web completely across the entrance.” And they went on.
I began to think about spiders and their webs because I passed one, decked out in early morning dew. I then began to consider godly applications, for we find God everywhere. My mulling took me to sin, and lack of trust, and the end of where every mulling takes me, given enough time – to God’s faithfulness. And his promise, the one he first made to Moses, and to each of us – “I will be with you.”