Psalm 140 (Psalms on the Trail)

"The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords:they have spread a net by the wayside." Psalm 140:5

“The proud have hidden a trap for me,

and with cords they have spread a net;

along the road they have set snares for me.

I say to the Lord, “You are my God;

give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications.” Psalm 140:5-6

Often on the morning trail there is the occasional run-in with a spider strand strung from a tree or branch, drifting invisibly across the path.  I feel it, but I don’t see anything when I try to wipe it off my face or arms.  Beautiful webs like the one above don’t usually make it across the trail, but if the sun is just right, and especially if it is misted with dew, I might spot one off to the side.

The psalmist, however, is talking about people who are setting traps for him or her.  I don’t have to worry much about other people setting traps for me.  I do pretty well at setting my own nets along the road of daily life.  And often these nets are caused by my own pride, not that of others.  Net#1: I won’t tell anyone that I need help; I can fix this myself.  Net #2: I know I am right about this; it’s the other person’s problem.  Net#3: The ” superwoman” syndrome.  (Things will fall apart if I take a day off.) (If I were a better pastor there wouldn’t have be conflict in the congregation.) Net#4: The reliance on people’s approval.

Everyone has their own nets.  They could as likely be a lack of self-confidence or avoidance as much as the pride and arrogance the psalmist speaks of.   They can be behaviors we are addicted to.  Whatever it is, it hooks us, snags us, distracts us from fully loving God and freely loving our neighbor as he or she is.  That’s when I have to ask God for help.  Often I receive God’s help through listening to scripture and prayer or someone’s wise words that help to untangle the threads and move me forward along the road.


1. Read the verse and reflect on its meaning for you.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder? What nets trap you?

2. Read all of Psalm 140 and see how this verse fits into the whole.

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that is a window of this psalm’s meaning for you.

The next post will be on Psalm 141.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting an (almost) daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.


  1. Funny, I just had the experience of walking through a web this evening as I was doing yard work out by the woods. Happens frequently around here. Now to ponder this verse and meditation.

  2. I HATE walking through spider webs…:-)