Series 41


by Francis Dixon
Key-verse: “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.” (Psalm 22:6)

Here was a man who felt just like a worm! That was his estimate of himself. What is our estimate of ourselves? Do not answer too quickly, because if someone called you a worm you might very well be upset with them for doing so! But what does God say about it, and how do you feel about it? As a matter of fact, God’s estimate of us is that we are like worms in His sight! We like to think of ourselves as important, attractive and secure, but God says, ‘No, you are a worm! You are small and feeble, and by nature you are full of moral corruption’ – look up Jeremiah 17:9. It is hard to accept this because we are so often proud. What we need to do is to cultivate the Christian grace of humility, of recognising that of ourselves we are absolutely nothing and that our place is to get down low at the feet of the Lord Jesus. When we get there He will say to us what He said to Jacob of old: “Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob…for I myself will help you, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 41:14).

What a wonderful word this is! God speaks to us immediately we are willing to get low at His feet and admit our unworthiness. Let us look at what God promises to do for worms, for His own people who recognise their weakness:-


1. He cares for worms

Think of the man Jacob (Isaiah 41:14)! He was just a worm in God’s sight, and yet the Lord promised to help him. Who is this God? This verse states, “the Holy One of Israel”. Is that all? No, look again: He is “your Redeemer”. This should fill us with wonder, love and praise. We are insignificant and unlovely and repulsive in ourselves, yet the Holy One Himself cares for us enough to become our Redeemer, and He shed His blood for us at Calvary in order to deliver us from sin, death and hell (1 Peter 1:18-19). How much the Lord must have cared for us to send His own Son to redeem us – to redeem a worm like you and like me! Yes, God cares for worms!


2. God speaks to worms

Notice the words in verse 14 – “declares the Lord”. If He speaks to worms, what does He say? The special word is “Do not be afraid”. This is to banish our fear and it is a word of promise that He will give us His help. He says, “Do not be afraid…for I myself will help you.” You see, worms are not only in special need of help, but they are especially ready to hear what God is saying and to receive His help. It is when we come to the end of our own resources that we are ready to cry out to God, asking for and receiving the help which He wants to give us. So, if you are a worm, rejoice in this, that God not only loves and cares for worms, but that He speaks to worms. But there is more to follow:-


3. God transforms worms

Look again at Isaiah 41:14, and notice that it is addressed to Jacob, and Jacob was his real name. It was Jacob who was transformed by the Lord and re-named Israel. Jacob, the supplanter, became Israel – “a prince with God” – look up and read about this in Genesis 32:24-30. What a wonderful transformation this was! But it is an illustration of what the Lord has always done in the lives of His people, and of what He is ready to do in your life. Think how wonderfully He transformed Moses (Deuteronomy 34:10-12); David (Acts 13:22); Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-8); Jonah (Jonah 3:1-2); Peter (Luke 22:32); and Paul (Acts 9:1,5,6,17-18). God can take a Jacob and turn him into an Israel. God transforms worms.


4. God uses worms

Look now at Isaiah 41:15-16. God is still speaking to His people, whom He calls Jacob, the worm, and He is telling them that although they are an insignificant little worm He will make them an instrument in His hands, and through them He will do great and mighty things. God will do this; Jacob will only be the instrument. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul meant in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 and 2 Corinthians 4:7. It takes some of us a long time to learn the lesson that it is God who is the worker and we are only the instruments in His hands! The instrument may be very small and insignificant, but when God takes it up He exercises His power and accomplishes something great for His praise and glory. How worthwhile it is to take our place low at His feet. Look up and compare John 3:30 and 1 Peter 5:5-6.


5. God exalts worms

We learn this from the last part of Isaiah 41:16. The Lord’s word to Jacob, the worm, is this: “You will rejoice in the Lord and glory in the Holy One of Israel”. It is a great moment in the life of any Christian when he recognises his union with the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:6), and compare Isaiah 33:16. Then, and only then, is he willing to be lost sight of – to “glory in the Holy One of Israel” alone, and to give Him the pre-eminence – look up Colossians 1:18.

In concluding this study, notice that it is only when we are willing to get down, down, down low at the Lord’s feet, as a mere worm in His sight, that we can enter into the reality of the fact that God cares for us, speaks to us, transforms us, uses us and exalts us. The words “But I am a worm” (Psalm 22:6) refer to our Saviour Himself who was willing to be completely identified with us in our contempt, our weakness and our moral corruption (though He knew no sin), in order that we might be lifted up.