The Spider, Prov 30:28

Prov 30 was written by a man named Agur.  Agur professed to be a brutish man, v.2.  Brutish here means he was untaught.  However, he was observant.  The things he wrote in this proverb he learned, not by education but, by observation.  And in all of his observation, he understood some things that God revealed to him through his creation, Rom 1:20.

In Prov 30:28 he wrote, “The spider taketh hold with her hands, an is in kings’ palaces”.  The spider is the fourth of the little things upon the earth that Agur found to be exceeding wise, Prov 30:24.

The other three are likewise little and yet wise.  The weak ants are wise to prepare their meat in summer.  The feeble conies are wise to make their houses in the rocks.  The kingless locusts are wise to go forth by bands. And they are all a lesson to us as God’s children.  From the ants we learn not to sleep in harvest; the fields are white unto harvest.  From the conies we learn to build our houses on a rock by trusting Jesus Christ, the rock of our salvation and by obeying his words.  From the locusts we learn to stick together in unity and go forth preaching the gospel of Jesus.

We also learn a great deal of wisdom from the spider in a king’s palace.  But we must observe closely like Agur did to glean from their wisdom.  Agur noticed that the spider has hands.  However, when you just look at a spider you see eight legs and no hands.  Yet, upon much closer examination, you notice that they have two other legs, a very small pair, in front of these eight that are called “pedipalps” or “palps” for short.  They use these like hands to “take hold” of food, primarily.  

As Agur studied the spider he began to appreciate her wisdom and it’s application to us. He remarked that the spider is in kings’ palaces.  

First, she’s not out of place in the king’s palace.  You might think she is.  After all, she’s more likely to be found under the house or down in the cellar or out in the barn.  But, in truth, not only is she in the king’s palace, but she actually belongs there.  In the king’s palace are a multitude of beautiful artworks and embroidered tapestries.  All of these made for the king.  Yet, the spider was not made for the king, but rather by the king… the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  And the intricacy of her creation reveals more splendor than all the other adornments of the palace.  She was made for God’s pleasure, Rev 4:11.  Likewise, the Lord saved you, little spider, and you became “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works”, Eph 2:10.  No matter what you were before you were saved, you belong here.

Second, DeWitt Talmage said of this verse, “my text teaches me that insignificance is no excuse for inaction.  This spider on the wall might have said: ‘I can’t weave a web worthy of this great palace; what can I do amid all this gold and embroidery? I am not able to make anything fit for so grand a place, and so I will not work my spinning jenny.’ Not so said the spider. ‘The spider taketh hold with her hands.’ Oh, what a lesson that is for you and me! You say if you had some great sermon to preach, if you only had a great audience to talk to, if you had a great army to marshal, if you only had a constitution to write, if there was some tremendous thing in the world for you to do – then you would show us.

“Yes, you would show us! What if the Levite in the ancient Temple had refused to snuff the candle because he could not be a High Priest? What if the humming bird should refuse to sing its song into the ear of the honeysuckle because it cannot, like the eagle, dash its wing into the sun? What if the rain drop should refuse to descend because it is not a Niagara? What if the spider of the text should refuse to move its shuttle because it cannot weave a Solomon’s robe? Away with such folly. If you are lazy with the one talent, you would be lazy with the ten talents. In the Lord’s army there is order for promotion; but you cannot be a general until you have been a captain, a lieutenant, and a colonel. It is step by step, it is inch by inch, it is stroke by stroke that our Christian character is built. Therefore be content to do what God commands you to do. God is not ashamed to do small things. He is not ashamed to be found chiseling a grain of sand, or helping a honey bee to construct its cell with mathematical accuracy, or flinging a shell in the surf, or shaping the bill of a finch. What God does, He does well. What you do, do well, be it a great work or a small work. If ten talents, employ all the ten. If five talents, employ all the five, if one talent, employ the one. If only the thousandth part of a talent, employ that. I tell you if you are not faithful to God in a small sphere, you would be indolent and insignificant in a large sphere.”

Third, this spider, in her wisdom knows, that even in a king’s palace a fly may be found.  Solomon said “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor”, Ecc 10:1.  Just like in software programs, in every Christian church and home there are some bugs.  At church, we are in the place where our king meets with us.  The spider is in the palace as a testimony to us that, though we have escaped the pollutions of the world, we still have some bugs.  And we would be wise to recognize, that though we are saved by grace, we are not yet perfect in the palace of the king.  We must be careful with our flaws not to let them get the best of us.  

Finally, the wisdom of this spider teaches us that if we persevere, we too can arrive in the king’s palace.  That spider had to start at the bottom and work its way up to the top.  In all of its effort, the spider rose to the very height of the palace.  There is something in society today that this spider’s presence testifies against.  It is the victim mentality and the entitlement mindset.  Some might say, I’m just a spider, I’ll never amount to much.  And so they don’t even try and they blame their situation on the way they are made.  Hey, persevere.  You can do better than that.  The others say, society owes it (whatever that is) to me.  The spider says, if you want to get into the king’s palace you are going to have to apply yourself to persistent hard work and in time you will succeed.  

By God’s grace, learn the wisdom of the spider.  She uses those little insignificant hands to feed herself.  She is not ashamed to be in the king’s palace.  She rather believes that she belongs there.  And though she is insignificant she is not inactive.  She knows that with consistent, diligent, persistent effort she will rise to the top.