Scripture: Proverbs 29:25
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” •
Fear of Man
It’s what immobilizes us when we should take action, paralyzes us into silence when we should speak, prevents us from loving people with truth.
Snares are traps used by hunters to catch animals or birds. The fear of man is disguised and deceptive so it is often unaddressed because of its subtlety.
Understanding the Dynamics of the Fear of Man
- We ascribe WORTH to people, seeing THEM AS BIG and OURSELVES as SMALL
- We FEAR people CONSEQUENTLY PLEASE & OBEY & SEEK APPROVAL ofthem
- DISMISS God + ELEVATE Man
Example: Ten of the twelve spies, excluding Joshua and Caleb, were fearful of those who were in the land because they seemed strong.
Num.13:32-33 “32 So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. 33 And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”
Remember, God had delivered and defeated the Egyptian army. They did not overestimate the people, they underestimated God.
The ANTIDOTE: Whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
1 Peter 3:14-15 “14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear
of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”
Solution? Honor Christ the Lord as holy…
Peter is writing to persecuted Christians, encountering oppression and hostility, urging them to be loyal to both God and the Roman Empire who is persecuting them.
Holy means to be altogether different and set apart.
Ed Welch, “All experiences of the fear of man share at least one common feature: people are big. They
have grown to idolatrous proportions in our lives. They control us. Since there is no room in our hearts to worship both God and people, whenever people are big, God is not. Therefore, the first task in escaping the snare of the fear of man is to know that God is awesome and glorious, not other people”
This is what Bible calls to Honor God as Holy…
Set Christ the Lord as Holy.
RECOGNIZE His GREATNESS
As Lord, God is the highest authority and Creator Sustainer.
Psalm 8:3-4 “ 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you
have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
God is THE creative and everything else is derivative. Nothing contends with His greatness and might.
First task is not to dismiss people and opinions and expectations.
The first task is to MAGNIFY God.
Then we can SAVOR His GOODNESS.
Matthew 26:69-75, another example: Peter denies Jesus three times. He denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” Everyone else knew, only Peter fooled himself. He buckles before a young slave girl because he is controlled by opinions and consequences.
Luke 22:61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
After the denial, Jesus looked straight at Peter,battered & bruised. Then Jesus reinstates Peter by asking three times. John 21:15-17
1 Peter 1:17-19 “17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
- Don’t make same mistake the Jews made. Don’t mistake meekness for weakness.
- Jesus allowed His body to be ravaged, mutilated, carved.
- Nothing is as powerful as His blood.
- SPEAK from the sanctuary…the place of peace, quiet, and worship
Isaiah 8:12-14 “12 Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they
fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary.”