Whom Do You Fear

Proverbs 9:9-12 “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased. If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.”

Text Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”

In studying the book of Proverbs, you discover that you either fear God or you fear man! When the writer of Proverbs uses the word “fear” with respect to the Lord, the word means to fear morally or to reverence; with respect to man, it means fear or anxiety, to quake or tremble. One yields a blessed state, the other a buffeted spirit. When one has a moral reverence for God, they are blessed with wisdom, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10), blessed with long life, “The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened” (Prov. 10:27), blessed with a prosperous way, “the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life” (Prov. 22:4), and blessed with a departure from evil, “by the fear of the Lord  men depart from evil” (Prov. 16:6). When a person has a fear of man, it yields a physical anxiety that ensnares and impedes their service for the Lord. The fear of man drove the disciples into hiding, “when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19), silenced the testimony of men, “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:13), and it weaken their identification with the Lord, “but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus” (John 19:38). The social name may be peer pressure, but for the child of God, it’s the “fear of man.” It was said of Sir Henry Havelock, “He feared men so little because he feared God so much.” Whom do you fear?