Friday, August 8, 2008

The Hypocrite's Web

I read this entry from Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotional. (I found it online here, if you're looking for something like this.)

"They weave the spider's web."
--Isaiah 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 persons are easily entrapped by the loud professions of pretenders, and even the more judicious cannot always escape. Philip baptized Simon Magus, whose guileful 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 wonderful? 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 traveller's staff. The hypocrite needs no battery of Armstrongs to blow his hope to pieces, a mere puff of wind will do it. Hypocritical cobwebs will soon come down when the besom of destruction begins its purifying work. Which reminds us of one more thought, viz., 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 thou resting on something better than a spider's web. Be the Lord Jesus thine eternal hiding-place.

Before I realized how much of a hypocrite I can be, I would have read this and thought of people like David Koresh or one of the many prosperity gospel proponents. But this morning, I was struck with how many cobwebs I have found in my own heart. Their construction have not been conscious and overt but rather inherent and subtle. Their presence can be summed up in Spurgeon's sentence: hypocrites find their trust and hope within themselves. Guilty. But, I am so glad I have a Father who will not let His house be filled with cobwebs. He faithfully and sovereignly appoints a servant's broom or traveller's staff to rid His people of such false hope and false worship. He has done so in me. And, I pray, He continues to do His purifying work in me. May Jesus and Jesus only be my eternal hiding-place.


The Copeland Family said...

Great insight! I enjoyed reading that, Lauren!

Amanda said...

that's so interesting. I'm just now reading the Screwtape Letters and one letter sounded so much like that. I love that you posted this, thank you Lauren :)

Krista said...

Hi, Lauren. I found your blog through my "noisy" friend's blog (lift my noise). Your husband is coming to speak at one of my husband's things at the end of the month. Looking forward to that.
I truly enjoyed this entry as it is what I think about so much-- especially with my kids. So wanting them to see me respond well to His purifying work within me.

asia said...

This is something I've been wrestling with as well.. How often do I speak negatively of certain teachings while I walk in the pride of self reliance?! Thanks for the post, sister