Saved by a worm?

Judges 10:1 “After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah”

The condescension of our great God to come to earth to humble Himself to die on a cross is something that is almost too magnificent to put into words.  We see a possible allusion to this in the man Tola, one of the saviors of Israel whom we are told about in the book of Judges. We are told very little about this man for he is described in only two verses in all the Bible.  Yet, it is in what his name means that we can learn a lesson.

You see, the name Tola means “worm.”  What a strange name for a savior. Yet, that is exactly what we are told about the greatest Savior, Jesus. In Psalm 22 we have a prophesy of the Messiah.  It begins with the words, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” These are the very words that Jesus cried from the cross in Matthew 27:46. Later in the psalm we see various expressions of the anguish Jesus experienced on the cross in such words as “I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see Me mock Me; they make mouths at Me; they wag their heads; ‘He trusts in the Lord; let Him deliver Him; let Him rescue Him, for he delights in Him!’” 

What ignominy for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to be rejected, despised, and mocked by the very people whom He had created.  We are told that they plucked out His beard and spit in His face.  In Isaiah 43 we see a similar picture with these words: “He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrowsand acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” 

You see, our great and glorious Lord, Who from all eternity dwelt in perfect fellowship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, the One Whose glory is so much brighter than the sun, the One Who is worshiped by all the angels of Heaven, condescended to be born in a stable, live among those who had no regard for Him, and then die on a cross with criminals on His right hand and on His left. And why did this happen?  Because there was no other way for us, who actually deserved to be despised and rejected by God, to be redeemed. In God’s marvelous plan, He made a way for our sins to be placed on a substitute. Like the scapegoat of the Old Testament on which the people laid their hands in an act symbolizing the transfer of all their sins to a goat, so Jesus became the scapegoat for us, bearing the sin and the penalty for that sin in His own perfect and holy body on the cross. 

Despised by men, rejected as having no more dignity than a worm, yet He did it all for us so that we could be saved.  What a wonderful Savior is Jesus our Lord Who so wonderfully condescended to become a worm, as the hymn “Alas and did my Savior Bleed” puts it, “for such a worm as I.”  There’s a wonderful hymn about all this. It’s called “Down from His Glory.”  Here are the lyrics:

Down from His glory
Ever living story
My God and Savior came
And Jesus was His name
Born in a manger
To His own a stranger
A Man of sorrows, tears and agony

O how I love Him! How I adore Him
My breath, my sunshine, my all in all
The great Creator became my Savior
And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him

What condescension
Bringing us redemption
That in the dead of night
Not one faint hope in sight
God, gracious, tender
Laid aside His splendor
Stooping to woo, to win, to save my soul

O how I love Him! How I adore Him
My breath, my sunshine, my all in all
The great Creator became my Savior
And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him

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