Job 25:6 speaks of a man’s children as being worms. Remember, it is a so-called friend of Job that calls man a worm. His discourse did argue for us to speak very honorably of God and the great distance between the creator and the created. I remember when our hymn books spoke of man as a “worm,” just as Isaac Watts wrote it: “Alas! And did my Savior bleed? And did my Sovreign die, Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?” Now the word “worm” has been changed to “sinner.”
Why the change? Was it thought to be theologically erroneous or because it was thought to be too harsh on church goers’ self esteem? Perhaps it was thought to be demeaning to all humanity. Only the regenerate could understand the spiritual significance of the figure.
Remember that God’s Word often uses different forms of figurative language which should not be taken literally. It is a means of saying one thing and meaning another. I believe that is what should be understood here.
Isaiah used the same word to describe Israel: “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)
That is the word used to describe man, the parents. “How much less is man, who is only a maggot, or a man’s children, who are only worms!” (Job 25:6 ISV) That word is even more offensive than “worm” if you have observed maggots at work in the flesh of man or animals. But remember it too is a figure or metaphor of the sinful condition of humanity.
Dust and ashes
These are the words used by Abraham to answer his question, “Who am I?” “And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:” (Genesis 18:27) That is what he would return to but for the present he could not use that as an appeal to secure a concession from the Almighty.
Crown of creation?
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” (Psalm 8:4-8) The passage refers to man generally and is recited in Hebrews 2 where we find the complete fulfillment of the meaning of the psalm in Jesus Christ as He is identified with all humanity in the incarnation.
Moses asks this question of Jehovah when God was requiring him to do an unthinkable task. “And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) He was not a haughty leader but a man conscious of his own inadequacies.
David also asked the question “Who am I?” Saul was plotting to dispose of David because he was eaten up with jealousy of him. Saul had conceived of a strange way to get rid of David by first bringing him into the family: “And David said unto Saul, Who am I? And what is my life, or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?” (I Samuel 18:18) He did not conceive of himself as a worthy or suitable candidate for son in law to the king.
You may be asking “Who am I?” when God is asking you to do something for Him and you do not feel qualified. That may happen when God calls a person to any special service. The solution is to get qualified. Get the training you need. You may ask it in all humility or as a way to evade your sense of duty by pleading unworthiness or incapability. “Who am I?” is the language of evasion and sometimes refusal as well as humility.
Who am I?
Every person should take inventory and answer this for themselves. At least one honest informed answer would be, “I am made in the image of God. I am a special unique creation of the Almighty. Look beyond that. What else do you see? A worm? A lost sinner? God’s people are looked upon as worms in their haughty thoughts by those who are not His people. At least it is not as serpents – a sneaky snake. Let us then wonder at the love and condescension of God, in taking such worms into fellowship and communion with himself!
When we really take stock of our spiritual condition without Christ, our position out of Christ, and our sins against Him, it should make us feel lower than a worm. The Apostle Paul saw himself as the chief of sinners. As redeemed regenerate people we are all trophies of God’s grace.
Who am I? I know by divine authority that I have been created in God’s image. I did not commit all the sins Paul confesses, but I know I committed enough to nail my Saviour to the cross of Calvary. I am ashamed of every sin that nailed Him there. I am what I am by the grace of God, and not yet all that I want to be. I am a redeemed sinner. I do not claim any great righteousness of my own as an entrance to heaven. I dare not trust in anything less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I know that I am a child of God in His forever family. Do you?