"The fear of man brings a snare, but He who trusts in the Lord will be exalted." Proverbs 29:25
Solomon was a son of the palace. He was one of many offspring that his father, David, had sired from several wives and concubines. He was well aware of the power plays that surrounded the throne, and he knew that his place on it was only as secure as his trust in God. He had seen first hand what people could do. His own powerful father had been challenged for the throne by his son Absalom. David was victorious in the civil war, but his grip on his throne was weakened. There were those who skulked about the halls of power that did not believe Solomon was up for the task that faced him. Compared to the rugged upbringing that David experienced as a shepherd boy fighting against the lion, and the bear, Solomon was a mamma's boy who had yet to prove himself. He was familiar with fear and knew that his only hope was to trust in God for protection and direction.
"Fear of man brings a snare" when other people or conventional wisdom is allowed to trap Christ followers in prison walls that overshadow the Presence of God in their lives. Proverbs gives ample warning, in its thirty-one chapters, about the need to fear God. This is a reverence, awe and respect for His Presence. It is exhibited by a willingness to obey His Word for the correction and direction needed in life.
Jesus stated the issue that was at stake when he introduced the Constitution of the Kingdom in Matthew 5,6, and 7. These three chapters contain the repeated phrases: "You have heard it said...But I say to you!" The citizens of the kingdom Jesus was sent to establish would not take their marching orders from people who had lost their sense of direction. They would hear and obey what God told them to do, and point a lost generation toward His home. Nothing has really changed in the last 2000 years. Christianity is still just one generation away from extinction. Each generation faces the challenge of yielding to the wisdom of men or following the wisdom of God.
F.E.A.R. can be described as False Expectations Appearing Real. Even the smallest person is able to cast a giant shadow. When standing next to a campfire in the woods, even a munchkin can throws a monstrous shape in the dark of night. All it takes is a little light and alot of darkness. When people begin to have more influence than God does, Proverbs warns us to back away from the snare before it springs shut. Fearful thoughts are a signal that God's influence is being diluted. The more commons ones are: "What will they say?" What will they think? What will they do to me?" "Everyone is against me." People who have a fear of man get most of their exercise jumping to conclusions. They are poor mathematicians. They can add up 1 + 1 and get 3. Fear always makes the crowd of opposition seem larger than it really is. The dark always has that kind of influence.
Every child knows that things that go bump in the night can trigger an active imagination and send a bullet of fear right to their heart. Nightlights are a parents best friend, but there is no substitute for daylight. More light...less fear. When fear comes it will not bring the dawn of comfort, but the dark night of the soul. The Christ follower would do well to remember what Jesus said, "I am the Light of the World." (John 8:12)
Solomon passes on wise counsel to those who would like to be set free from fear of man. This freedom is found in The Light. Jesus offered His life on the cross to build a bridge between those who feared for their lives, and a life-giving God. Fear of man shrinks in the Presence of God. Access to His Presence has been provided by the blood of Jesus. When we pray to God we are invited to come into His Presence in the name of Jesus. Prayer is the way a believer enters into the Presence of God, and it is the way an awareness of His Presence is maintained.
Jesus said, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may with you forever, that is the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you." John 14: 16-18
Fear is a weapon of the enemy that is deflected by truth. Truth is found in The Light not in the dark. When the words of the world strike fear in your heart, turn on the light of God's word, and renew the sense of direction Jesus gave to us to find our way home to God. Fear of man will keep your head down, and cause you to miss the sign God has had out for you. It says, "Welcome Home!"