As wise as a spider

Jack the dog and I take several walks every day, on opposite ends of a leash. This morning, something at ground level flashed and grabbed my attention. It was a large spider web stretched across the angle between a mail box post and the ground, glittering with dew drops.

While Jack sniffed the bushes, I studied the web. The spider was in residence, long legs emerging from a body the size of a pea. Crystal drops were her ready drink, and breakfast was being prepared, as she watched a mosquito struggle in the sticky strands.

As Jack and I resumed walking, an old proverb came to mind: “The spider takes hold with her hands and is in king’s palaces.” (Proverbs 30:28, KJV) This statement comes in a list of “four things that are little upon the earth but are exceedingly wise.” (verse 24)

A spider doesn’t need royal permission to come and go in the palace. Even if the king would rather not have her nearby, she’s there. Despite armed guards watching for intruders, the spider enjoys life with the king. She doesn’t request an audience or wait for permission. Though the throne room doors are bolted, she comes and goes at will.

Why does God label the spider “wise”? Maybe it’s because she’s willing to grapple with large obstacles, like the wall one thousand times bigger than she is. The verse notes that she “takes hold with her hands,” an interesting choice of words for a spider. I think it simply means she decides to do it. She grabs and reaches one tiny bit at a time until she conquers her massive obstacle. God has equipped her perfectly to defy gravity and walk straight to the top.

She also shows wisdom when she’s not intimidated by the king’s rank but does what God has programmed her to do. If she lives in a palace or a shack, it doesn’t matter to her.

The spider demonstrates still more wisdom in constructing her web so it will collect food and drink. If the web gets swept away, she begins to build another, without bemoaning the loss of the first.

I wonder if I could be wise, if I followed the spider’s example:

  1. to tackle giant obstacles one tiny step at a time without quitting;
  2. to believe God will equip me to do what he wants me to do;
  3. to make sure a person’s rank never determines how I act;
  4. to live contentedly with little or much;
  5. to make my home a place where loved ones find food, drink and security;
  6. to move forward, even if tragedy comes, without bemoaning the past.

A little spider seems like nothing more than a footnote in the world’s larger story. Yet she’s significant enough to rank a spot on God’s short list of things that are not just “wise” but “exceedingly wise.”

As Jack and I returned from our walk, we passed our neighborhood spider, resting comfortably while digesting her breakfast. Maybe she was pondering what tasty little something might come by for lunch. And wisely so.

6 thoughts on “As wise as a spider

  1. Great post! I love the way you got all of that out of seeing a spider on your walk with Jack. I would have said yuck and walked faster. 🙂

  2. Good writing! We have a spider that was on our mailbox that intrigued us – w/ the amazing web. You have given me some great applications to think about. Write on.

  3. Thank you for the wisdom of the spider. Very good advice as I deal with so many people who are “pushing” me to make decisions. My husband passed away unexpectedly three weeks ago. I am learning to take one small step at a time and lean of God for direction and strength. Thank you so much for your posts.

  4. Nate was such a caring, compassionate man. He was helping us to find just the perfect attny. for our dear son, Keith
    who battles acute chronic pancreatitis.He did finally get the Disability he needed & appreciated your encouragment. God’s richest blessings to you & your loved ones. Jerry thought so highly of Nate & misses him, especially on those “breakfast w/the guys from AHEFC (the Grove)” Saturdays.He is in a far better place but that doesn’t stop the pain of the loss I am sure. What a grand reunion we shall have w/our loved ones who have gone on to be w/Jesus before us. Hebrews 13:8 Lovingly, Joan Wilhelm