Day 29: The fear of man (29:25)
“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe”
As we approach the end of Proverbs and before handing over to two “guest” wise men, we round off the sayings of Solomon with lots of timely repetition. Today we will do a quick recap before ending with our thought for the day. We begin with the reoccurring theme of reproof and discipline. Firstly, as applies to us personally: “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (29:1). Secondly, about the bringing up of children (modern day parents take note): “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame … Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul” (29:15, 17). We consider kings and rulers, reminding us again why we want them to be good and wise: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn … The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it … If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked … The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever” (29:2,4,12,14). There is more said in our chapter on themes covered previously that we note: the wise and the fool, the righteous and the wicked, the angry and the peace loving, and the humble and the proud.
But before our text for today, another often quoted text is: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (29:18). Wouldn’t it be lovely to see a new generation with the sort of vision to respond to: “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed” (MSG). Yet we can be people with God’s vision. So back to our text for today: “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that” (MSG). Tragically, history and experience are littered with examples of people who have missed God’s best because they fear what others think and have gone with the flow that is not what God had in mind. Thank God too for those who did what our text suggests and, as they trusted in God to protect them, they entered in the flow of God’s stream. The challenge before us is to partner with God by being party to the vision He wants to give us and not to be deterred due to the fear of man.
Prayer: We are continually amazed by the precious truths that leap out of your Word. Help us be those who keep your law and own the vision you have for the peoples of the earth. We are sorry when we succumb to the fear of man and rather may we put our trust in you, knowing that in doing so we are safe.