|And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim. And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.|
|Tola’s dad’s name, Puah, means “splendid.” His grandfather’s name, Dodo, means “beloved one.” Tola’s name, however, meant neither “splendid” nor “beloved,” but “worm.” This being the case, Tola was probably as obscure in his own time as he is today. He was a man of Issachar who dwelt in Ephraim. That is, he wasn’t dwelling among his own people.|
Jesus is depicted here. Not only did He leave His home in Heaven to dwell among people who wouldn’t receive Him (John 1:11), but in Psalm 22:6, He says, prophetically, “I am a worm and not a man.”
The Hebrew word, tola - the plural of which is tolaath - is translated two ways in the Bible: as either “scarlet” or “worm.” Why would the same word be used for both “scarlet” and “worm”? Because in Bible days, when people needed scarlet cloth, they would grind worms into a pasty, blood-red substance that would be used as a dye.
Why would Jesus say, “I am a worm”? Because, to reproduce, the tola would climb the trunk of a tree and fasten on a limb. Then the worm would lay the larva and cover the eggs with its body. Although the eggs would hatch, the worm wouldn’t budge. So the larva would begin to feed on the body of the one who had given them life. As the tola gave its life for its young, its blood would leave a scarlet mark on the tree. After the dead worm fell, the bloody spot left on the limb of the tree would dry after three days, becoming a white, flaky substance that would fall to the ground like snow.
“Though your sins be as scarlet - tola - they shall be white as snow,” Isaiah declares (see 1:18). Fastened to the tree of the Cross of Calvary, Jesus wouldn’t budge until the work was finished. What work? The work that would allow you and me to be “hatched,” to be born again. “Eat of My Body,” He says. “Drink of My blood. I give My life for you. And though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (see Mark 14:22-24).
By His blood, Jesus not only saved us, but, like Tola in the text before us, He is the Judge who defends us. You see, Revelation 12:10 tells us that Satan accuses us day and night, going before the throne of the Father, saying, “Look at him. Look at her. They’ve blown it here. They’ve messed up there.” But the Bible says the accuser was overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11).
“If any man sin, we have an Advocate, a Defender with the Father - that is, Jesus Christ the righteous,” John declares (see 1 John 2:1). This means that when we sin, although Satan will be at the throne of God pointing out our failures and shortcomings, we have a Defender - the Tola, the scarlet Worm, Jesus - who says, “Father, she has eaten of My body. He has tasted of My blood. They are clean.”
Hearing the accusations of the prosecuting attorney, and listening to the defense of His Son, the Father hits the gavel in the courtroom of Heaven and says, “Case dismissed for lack of evidence.”
And celebration breaks forth.
01 March 2008
From Jon Courson...I thought it was amazing.