Man Is a Worm

“Man … is a worm” (job 25:6)

Are you shocked to find this in the Bible? This appears to be nothing less than a direct assault on our prized esteem and self-worth. It symbolizes the weakness and insignificance of man; it is a bold affront to the “pride of life”, the cherished sin of Adam’s children.

We are accustomed, with human superiority and power, to tread lesser things beneath our feet; our banner proudly waves, “Don’t tread on me!” William Henley reflected the spirit of man’s unbridled and unbroken pride in his poem “Invictus”:

“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole;
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll;
I am the master of my fate,
The captain of my soul.”

In spite of this deluded boasting, God’s infinite Person dwarfs our puny existence. He is the master, He is the captain, He is the Lord God Almighty. In fact, our lowliness is clearest in the face of His own incomparable greatness. David said, “Oh Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. When I consider the heavens, the works of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained. Lord, what is man that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of Man that thou takest account of him!” (Psa. 8:1,3; 144:3).

The only rational response to God’s transcendent greatness is abject self-humiliation and reverent, holy fear. It is in God’s majestic, righteous presence that we learn to fear Him; it is here that we learn to rightly assess what we truly are, and bow in full agreement – “Man is a worm.”

“I am a worm” (Psalm 22:6)

This incredible statement from the lips of the Lord Jesus (prophetically spoken through David) is one of the most striking expressions regarding the utter humiliation and lowliness of God’s eternal Son. He was eternally rich, as to His position, His possessions and His Person, but He “humbled himself’, entered a place of “no reputation” and for our sakes “became poor.” (Phil. 2:6-8; 2 Cor. 8:9) It is a touching testament to His complete and personal identification with our fallen race that He takes this most despised designation, “I am a worm.”

To see the Lord Jesus as the Lion of Judah is to ascribe to Christ the noblest characteristics of that majestic beast. He is awesome and powerful; He is “great and greatly to be praised” (Psa 145:3). To know Him as the Lamb of God is to appreciate His meekness, gentleness, and silent suffering. He is “meek and lowly in heart” (Matt 11:29). But to see Him as the Worm of Calvary is to comprehend His infinite love; He became what I am, a sin-ladened worm, to make me what He is, a treasured son! Praise His lovely Name!

“God prepared a Worm” (Jonah 4:7)

Human institutions systematically elevate the strong, the aggressive, the proud; in startling contrast, God elevates the foolish and the weak to accomplish His sovereign purposes (1 Cor 1:26-29). God’s choicest men and women often come from humblest origins.

If you think that you can do nothing for Him, please reconsider! Dare we miss the lesson of Balaam’s donkey, Jonah’s gourd and a small boy’s fish dinner., Small things used by God! Remember Shamgar’s oxgoad. Remember David’s smooth stone. Remember Jael’s tent peg. All used by God! Remember that Jacob was crippled, that Moses had a speech impediment and that Paul was half blind. Yet these were God’s chosen tools, small and insignificant on man’s scale, but honed and burnished to serve Him. And never forget, the greatest work of eternity, the redemption of sinners, was committed to a lowly, penniless, reviled carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth.

There is work to be done for God today. There is a burning need for men and women to surrender their selfish, worldly interests and take up the yoke of the Lord Jesus in holy service for Him. We need devoted parents and spouses, we need godly deacons and elders, we need active tract distributors, Sunday School teachers and gospel workers. In the home, in the assembly and in the world, God is yearning to prepare humble “worms” to work for Him and for His glory.

“Fear Not, Thou Worm” (Isaiah 41:14)

Our lowliness often causes us to experience feelings of real fear. We are surrounded by people and influences of greater strength and power. At our absolute human best (something we have never attained), we are weak and failing and sinful. Likely, our greatest achievements on earth, spiritual or otherwise, will never be recognized or appreciated in this world. Within a century or two’ our tombstones will topple and our names be forgotten. However, none of this is to be a matter of any concern to us; God says, “I am for you! I am with you! Do not fear!”

The weakness of God’s servants, His humble “worms”, magnifies the greatness of their Master and Protector and Friend. He says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:5-6). May the Lord help each one of us to understand our lowliness, yet place ourselves in His hand for service and usefulness in our lives! And, let us not fear; remember, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).