Listen To Most Current
Grace Notes Archive
June 2021 (2)
May 2021 (5)
April 2021 (4)
March 2021 (5)
February 2021 (4)
January 2021 (5)
December 2020 (4)
November 2020 (4)
October 2020 (5)
September 2020 (4)
August 2020 (5)
July 2020 (21)
June 2020 (29)
May 2020 (28)
April 2020 (31)
March 2020 (5)
February 2020 (4)
January 2020 (5)
December 2019 (5)
November 2019 (3)
October 2019 (5)
September 2019 (4)
August 2019 (5)
July 2019 (4)
June 2019 (5)
May 2019 (4)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (6)
January 2019 (4)
December 2018 (4)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (3)
June 2018 (4)
May 2018 (4)
April 2018 (4)
March 2018 (4)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (4)
December 2017 (4)
November 2017 (5)
October 2017 (4)
September 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
July 2017 (4)
June 2017 (5)
May 2017 (4)
April 2017 (5)
March 2017 (3)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (3)
December 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (4)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (5)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (5)
March 2016 (4)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (5)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (3)
September 2015 (4)
August 2015 (5)
July 2015 (5)
June 2015 (4)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (2)
March 2015 (4)
February 2015 (4)
January 2015 (5)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
September 2014 (4)
August 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
October 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (4)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (5)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (4)
February 2013 (5)
January 2013 (4)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (5)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
January 2011 (5)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (6)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (4)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (4)
January 2010 (5)
December 2009 (5)
November 2009 (3)
October 2009 (6)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (5)
July 2009 (4)
June 2009 (4)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (4)
January 2009 (5)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (5)
October 2008 (4)
September 2008 (5)
August 2008 (4)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (4)
March 2008 (5)
February 2008 (1)
Grace Notes

Current Articles | Categories | Search | Syndication

BIBLICAL LESSONS FROM NATURE: THE WORM
by Philip Owen

            God’s creatures serve many purposes.  Throughout history they have provided practical assistance in everyday life:  food for eating, fuel for heat, material for clothing, labor for bearing burdens and transportation, and blood for sacrifices.  But God has created them and set them forth as examples for us as well.  None is too useless, ignoble, or small to provide a lesson for us.  Take the worm, for example.  The Old Testament utilizes three Hebrew words that are translated as worm.  Only one Hebrew word is used in the examples here, which may be defined as something we would recognize as a maggot or a grub.  Even though we understand the value of their work, characteristically, we find worms to be somewhat repugnant, particularly those of the maggot variety that consume the rotting flesh of carcasses.  But unlike the ant, worms are not presented in the Bible for their positive contributions to consuming putrefaction or nourishing the soil, but for their weakness and repulsiveness.

            Job.  When Job misapprehended God’s seeming indifference to wrongs and injustices in the world, Bildad responded to Job’s misconceptions of God by declaring that “Dominion and awe belong to Him who establishes peace in His heights.” He asks a rhetorical question:  “How then can a man be just with God?  Or how can he be clean who is born of woman?  If even the moon has no brightness and the stars are not pure in His sight, how much less man, that maggot, and the son of man, that worm!” (25:2, 4-6).  Man is so corrupt, so weak, so inconsequential in his own person that Bildad can think of no better way to describe him than as a maggot or worm.  Sin has rendered him so weak and helpless that he is revolting in his own eyes; how, then, can he be viewed in any better light with God?  What hope has he of being clean in God’s sight or just before Him?  He is nothing more than a worm.

            Jacob.  You probably have never been called a worm by anyone, but if you had been, you probably would not have heard it as a compliment.  In fact, it would be hard to imagine the epithet as anything other than an insult.  What quality does a worm possess that we should aspire to emulate?  Probably none.  And yet, the Lord Himself, addressed Jacob (His people, Israel) with that appellation:  “’Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel’” (Isa. 41:14).  The Lord did not use the term in a contemptuous or derisive way.  Rather, He described their abject helplessness and, in a sense, their utter worthlessness apart from Him and His help.  God could crush His useless people more easily than we might squash a worm under our feet.  Just as a worm has no defense against the bootheel of a man, so is man before the power of God.  But God assured His people that, rather than crushing them as they deserved or viewing them with disgust as they merited, He would help them against their enemies and finally redeem them from their sins.

            Jesus.  But what brings this figure of weakness and repugnance into stark focus is the fact that it is used to describe our Lord Jesus Christ.  Offering a foreshadowing of Christ’s suffering on the cross, David wrote:   “But I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised by the people” (Ps. 22:6).  Such was the contempt of His own people for their Messiah, that He could describe Himself as only a disgusting worm to be crushed under their feet.  Similarly, Isaiah wrote of Christ in His suffering that “He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.  He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (Isa. 53:2b, 3).

            And so we come full circle and receive the answer to Job’s question through Bildad.  How can a sinful, contemptible, helpless, wormlike creature become just before a holy God?  By that God taking upon Himself the nature of man, volunteering to become contemptible, helpless, and wormlike Himself in order that He might suffer and die to pay our debt of sin.  And so that through faith, we might hear these words:  “Do not fear, you worm [insert name]; I will help you; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.”  How can it be that God would become a worm that I might become a son of God?

Actions: E-mail | Permalink

Previous Page | Next Page