The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.
We all, if we are really honest, must confess to “fearing man” at one time or another in our life, whether it is a coach or an employer or a teacher. We were tempted to think that if we said something or did something that these people did not like, we would lose our starting position on a team, lose our job in the work place, or lose points on a test. From a very surface position, we saw these types of people as having a power that we could not break. Therefore, we feared this temporal power and at times failed to honor God.
Proverbs 29:25 reminds us that there are severe consequeses to “fearing man” and not “fearing God.” The ESV says that to fear man “lays a snare.” The KJV says it “bringeth a snare.” The message is that there are effects of our fearing God over man. For one thing it brings a slavish fear when we think that man’s power in this life is greater than God’s. Furthermore, it exposes man to many temptations when we fail to look to God alone. This is very “natural.” Remember Abraham, fearing man, even denied his wife. Or remember Peter the Apostle denied his master for fear he would be associated with the very Son of God. We are, however, safe, when we trust alone in God, who has the power of death and life and can kill both body and soul (Luke 7:5). We are to trust God’s Word to be true that he is able to keep us from falling. To be safe in God is to be protected from the power of man; in this way, God power is greater than man’s power. We, too, are free from fear that we will lose our job or that place on the team. God, who sovereignly rules, has all power over any earthly power.
Let us, then, be courageous to speak the truth and walk in a manner free from the fear of what man can do to us. For he is, in reality, only breath.