Revenge of the Worms
by Tom Stewart
December 9, 2003
"Fear not, thou worm Jacob,
and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy Redeemer, the Holy
One of Israel"
Perhaps you have sung Isaac Watts' classic hymn "Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?" or Ralph Hudson's Gospel song "At the Cross"-- which is Watts' hymn with the addition of a refrain-- and were struck with the words of the second line of the first stanza:
"Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?"
Both Watts and Hudson agreed with Isaiah's assertion that though
we are human, we are but worms in the eyes of Jehovah-- worms wonderfully endowed
with the Grace of the Living God! "How
much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?" (Job 25:6). Humility does not demand us to make ourselves
smaller than we understand to be the Truth, but it requires us to faithfully admit
the veracity of what we understand to be so. "I
am a worm" (Psalm 22:6). Can we
say it and mean it? Remember that the LORD Jesus called out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (22:1), at the pregnant moment of His bearing our
sins upon the Cross. When Christ offered Himself, He became as an insignificant worm
that would give its life on a tree. "6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach
of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they
shake the head, saying, 8 He
trusted on the LORD that He would deliver him: let Him deliver him, seeing He delighted
in him" (22:6-8). And, a worm, as
used by the Psalmist, is the coccus ilicis-- the female scarlet worm. This unusual
worm was designed by the Creator to securely and permanently attach her body to the
trunk of a tree when she was ready to give birth to her young. Her deposited eggs
would remain under her body until they hatched, then to continue their independent
life cycles. However, the mother would die, staining both her body and the surrounding
wood scarlet. Commercial scarlet dyes were derived from the dead bodies of the female
scarlet worms. Likewise, Christ the Son of Man shed His "Precious
Blood" (1Peter 1:19) and sacrificed
His Life for us. "Who His Own Self bare
our sins in His Own Body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto
Righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed" (2:24).
If we accept our place as Jehovah's Worms, we may lay claim to the Grace or Help that has been promised. "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 41:14). Such strengthening enables us to do that which we could otherwise never imagine. "Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff" (41:15). What a revelation! A worm shall thresh a mountain! "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My Righteousness" (41:10). "Great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3) have been promised, because we are not the One Whose Might is responsible for the outcome. "29 He giveth Power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:29-31). God makes a special point of finding those who admit that they are powerless weaklings, whose purpose is only to please Him, and He strengthens them. "The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole Earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him" (2Chronicles 16:9). Strange to say it, but it is only Jehovah's Worms that have the certainty of dominating the Planet. "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the Earth" (Matthew 5:5).
So, we are Wonderfully Endowed Worms with the Grace of Jehovah, but what about this idea of revenge? Is it not written, "Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the LORD" (Romans 12:19)? Yes, this is the verity of the Word of God. He has said it, and that should settle it. We ought to believe it, and whatever He has said, we should conform to it. "I cannot go beyond the Word of the LORD my God, to do less or more" (Numbers 22:18). For this reason, Jehovah's Worms must cautiously use the word "revenge" only when and how Scripture does. "And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled" (2Corinthians 10:6). The Apostle Paul had dealt in his former epistle to the Corinthians with a matter of incest taking place in their midst, where he had instructed the gathered Christians to "deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the LORD Jesus" (1Corinthians 5:5). These stern words of "revenge" were meant to restore and not destroy the Apostate Christian, i.e., the Backslider, where God and not man would physically deal with the individual. "Who is able to stand before this Holy LORD God?" (1Samuel 6:20). Paul in his subsequent Epistle to the Corinthian Believers directed them to tenderly reinstate the formerly erring Backslider, the now Penitent Brother. "8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same Epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to Repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh Repentance to Salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you" (2Corinthians 7:8-12).
Notice that the word "revenge" (v. 11) is used by Paul to describe the act of Repentance by the formerly incestuous Backslider, as well as the collective repentances of the fellow Corinthians for their formerly nonchalant acceptance of his incest in their fellowship, i.e., "ye sorrowed to repentance... yea, what clearing of yourselves... yea, what revenge!" (2Corinthians 7:9, 11). Whenever God succeeds in bringing any of us to repentance from our backsliding ways, it is the same as if we were cooperating with Him in His vengeance against sin-- "yea, what revenge!" (7:11). In fact, it is Perfect Vengeance-- we get our revenge upon sin, when we repent! "Yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!" (2Corinthians 7:11). Perfect Vengeance is the strength of our outrage against our backsliding and sin, which is the measurement of how weak or strong the walls will be that prevent us from slipping back into a recurrence of the same sin, for "he that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls" (Proverbs 25:28). The traditional or worldly view of revenge is exacting a price from an enemy for a wrong against ourselves, while the Revenge of the Worms is a clearing of ourselves of the "sin which doth so easily beset us" (Hebrews 12:1). Rather than an infliction of physical, mental, or emotional vengeance against another being, we direct the Heavenly Fire down upon our own position to spiritually annihilate (as best as we know how) the enemy of sin which rises in our own breast. "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). We can no longer tolerate the launching of rebellious sin against our Rightful Sovereign King Jesus from our own heart and hands, who profess our love and allegiance to Him. "10 That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in Earth, and things under the Earth; 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the Glory of God the Father. 12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own Salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to Will and to Do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:10-13).
May the Revenge of the Worms be thorough!
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