January 5th, 2020 – Tuesday Early Evening
“The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted. Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice for man comes from the LORD.” ~Proverbs 29:25-26
This passage has two very important reminders along the same theme: 1. Trusting in, revering, or being anxious to receive the approval of man is vain, pointless, and deadly. 2. Only those who trust in the LORD obtain perfect justice and find a high place of safety from the snares of life.
Let’s dig deeper… Fearing man entails placing that person or persons (either consciously or subconsciously) into the center of one’s perspective, even if it is only in certain situations. An example of this would be how we might act around someone that we want to like us or even someone who we don’t want to upset because of how it will negatively affect us. If we are most concerned with how that person is going to react, we will end up saying or doing things that we ought not to (or at least in a way that we ought not to) in order to please them. We may ignore all others in our way because we must meet the person’s approval or gain their favor; and it may not be just one or two people who gain this place in our lives…it may be certain groups of people or even every person who we begin to fear. If we continue on such a path, we will undoubtedly end up being ensnared in the process because that person (or every person) becomes an idol either of fear or pleasure. All joy and gladness will be lost and we will find our plot in life one of misery and doom.
On the other hand, fearing the LORD automatically means that we have allowed Him to put Himself in the center place of our lives and perspectives. It means that it is most important to us to live, speak, and act in a way that is honoring to Him and that garners His approval and brings His blessing regardless of how it may affect our status or tarnish our foolish pride. This is obviously only accomplished through our (those who know Christ) humble submission to His Word and His powerful, indwelling Spirit, not by groveling and scraping the dust at His feet or fulfilling some daring feat or some pious act. Furthermore, because the LORD is the Sovereign and Righteous Judge of all, we can depend on the fact that we will be receive His perfect justice and favor, even if our physical bodies suffer. He alone holds the ultimate authority, He alone can bring about peace and truth in the midst of chaos and falsehood, and He alone can equip us to love and honor others in the right way.
The questions that beg an answer, then, from us are these: Who do I fear? Is my life dominated by a desire to gain the approval of man or to control my circumstances? Or, is it ruled by a quiet and peaceful trust in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Let us not be foolish and proud in seeking the approval of man or by trying to control our own destinies; rather, may we always walk by the Spirit and live as pleasing and acceptable sacrifices to the only wise God.