Saturday, June 25, 2005

The fear of man: Is 51:12-13

"I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies and of the son of man who is made like grass, that you have forgotten the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, as he makes ready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor?" (Isaiah 51:12-13)
King Solomon said, "The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted." (Proverbs 29:25) The fear of man brings a snare. As Christians, we are to fear God and not man. Through Isaiah, God tells us that when we live in the fear of man it can lead us to forgetting God. We forget what God has said, we forget His plans and purpose for our lives, and we focus instead on what other people say and their plan and purpose for our life. The will of other people becomes more important to us than the will of God.

One such person in the Bible that forgot God due to his fear of man was King Saul. In one particular instance Saul was instructed by God through the prophet Samuel to make war with analog. Specifically, he was instructed to "go and strike analog and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." (1 Samuel 15:3) But Saul and the people were unwilling to utterly destroy all that was Amalek's. "But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed." (1 Samuel 15:9) God again sends the prophet Samuel to Saul, but this time to rebuke him for his disobedience. After some discussion, Saul realizes his sins, he confesses "I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice." (1 Samuel 15:24) Saul's fear of man caused him to listen to their voice rather than the voice of God. He forgot the words of the Lord and listened rather to the desire of the people. King Saul was one who was constantly being snared by the fear of man.

We need to understand the tremendous destructive power of the fear of man. We need to learn to identify it in our lives and then to take action to eradicate it from our life. The only antidote that I know of for the fear of man is to learn to trust in the Lord. "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise,in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?" (Psalms 56:3-4) The remedy for fear is faith. As we grow in our faith and trust in Jesus, we will find that the fear of man has an ever decreasing hold on our lives.

David Robison

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