Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lessons from a worm

"Tola, the son of Puah, the son of Dodo"
Judges 10:1

I've been doing some research in the Book of Judges lately, and came upon something interesting I thought you might enjoy.  It's about a judge named Tola.  

Tola served as a judge for twenty-three years, but gets only a couple of verses in Scripture.  But with a little digging, there's a great lesson to learn from him.

The name “Tola” means “worm” – charming, isn’t that?  His father’s name, Puah, means “splendid”.  And his grandfather’s name, Dodo, means “beloved one”.  Tola, they name “worm”... nice...

But it gets even ickier – and yet more beautiful.  The worm called the tola worm is also called the crimson worm.  In Biblical times, people would grind this worm up into a blood-red paste that would they would use to dye cloth.  It’s still icky, right?  Okay, but that same word “tola” is also used in Psalm 22:6, when David spoke as Jesus:  “I am a worm.”  I always thought this meant that He was treated as such by those He came to save, and it does mean that, as evidenced by the context of the psalm, but there’s more to it than that.  You see, the tola worm is unique for how it gives birth.  It attaches itself to the trunk of a tree, and lays its eggs, covering them with its body.  The eggs are protected by the body until they hatch but when they do, the worm does not budge.  It's there for life ~ literally.  The body of the worm becomes the food of the newly-hatched larvae.   

Now here's the really interesting part:  After giving its life for its young, the dead worm falls from the tree, its blood leaving a stain behind.  But after three days, that stain dries, leaving a white, flaky substance that falls to the ground like snow.

Isn't that a disgusting, beautiful example of Jesus giving His life for us?  He attached Himself to a tree to die, that we might live; that our sins, which were as scarlet, would be white as snow. 

Tola the Judge... tola, the worm... Jesus, our Judge, who called Himself a worm.  Though we don't learn much about Tola, I'm grateful that he is mentioned in Scripture, and for a renewed appreciation for the lessons of God's love that we find in nature.

~ " 'I am a worm.... a reproach of men,
despised by the people...'
All the ends of the world shall remember
and turn to the Lord
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before You" ~
Psalm 22:6,27

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