The Fear of Man
Message Global Harvest, 18 May 2008
The most destructive element in the human mind is fear. Fear creates aggressiveness. Fear is an emotional response to possible realistic dangers. Fear should be distinguished from anxiety, an emotion that often arises out of proportion to the actual threat or danger involved, and can be subjectively experienced without any specific attention to the threatening object.
Fear can be of different kinds. Most of the fear is related to physical or emotional fear. And most of this fear can be over come when the circumstances around us change.
The Bible speaks about another kind of fear. This fear that the scripture talks about seems to be more dangerous than the physical or emotional fear. This is the fear of man.
In the Book of Exodus we read about the descendents of Joseph. Jospeh was elated to the position of the Prime Minister by the Egyptian Pharaoh. But a later Pharaoh emerged and he did not know about Joseph and his descendants (Exodus 1 : 7-11). Here we read that the Pharaoh began to be afraid of the Jewish people. It was not because they were rebellious or intolerable or lazy, but it was a fear that was born in the heart of the Egyptian king, the fear of man. Till then everything was at peace, but when the fear grew the peace was destroyed. And the whole incident of the ten plague and the drowning in the red sea originated through this fear of man.
Proverbs 29:25 says, the fear of man is like a snare. Falling into this snare is dangerous. The more we get entangled in it, the more the trap deepens and becomes a bondage.
What infact happens is that the fear of man is invisible, and the person falling into this trap does not know, till the bondage becomes heavy.
The danger over here is that it cuts of the relation between the person with God. He cannot receive a new revelation neither can he understand God’s purpose and will for him. The example I would site here is of a Cell phone with a good network connection. When we drive around anywhere in Delhi, we have a full network, but at some places like near the Prime Ministers residence or near some strategic defense locations, the networks seems to be complete, but the cell phone does not work. A person who is new to the area would seem to be annoyed or for him it’s a strange thing. The Cell phone is switched on, the network is full, but he cannot make a call. Someone who knows about it knows that network jammers are placed in such locations and this is the reason why we are unable to make or receive a call.
So the same thing happens regarding the fear of man. Everything seems to be perfect. Spiritually very sound, praying well, fasting and speaking in tounges etc but the end purpose or God’s ultimate purpose cannot be fulfilled. We destroy God purpose in our lives when we fear people.
There can be various reasons that develop the fear of man in human lives.
Position or Status in the society. What would people say or think. What will people speak about me? Would I loose my status, does this match my position? Etc etc
Spiritual fear or Holy fear : At times the fear for God inside us get us into a kind of spiritual fear or what I call a Holy fear. That’s not the kind of fear God wants us to have for him. God wants us to fear him out of our love for him not because of what the law demands. God does not want us to fear him as if he is a task master. Its not a bond servant and master relation. It’s a father and child relation with God. The fear of law becomes a snare and we tend to fear people more to satisfy God. Then begins the time when we are concerned about pleasing everyone and not hurting anyone, that the beginning of man fear where we tend to compromise.
Here, to please God we tend to please other believers and the pastors. We ask them for everything we want to do or check for conformations with them for whatever God asks us to do. And involve them so much in our lives and it becomes our divine network jammer. (John 12 :43)
We also see over spirituality and over pleasing nature also become a reason for fear of people.
Jesus did not please everyone neither did he compromise his stand. The incident in Mark 11: 27-33, Jesus could have easily got the approval of the Pharisees and the Chief Priests. But he never tends to do that because his relation was depending on God, if he went ahead for a compromise with the officials, then he would have had problems in relating to God, and these Pharisees would have become a jammer in his ministry. He was bold enough in confounding what he had to.
Paul had a very great understanding about this fear of people and he escaped this snare at every point. That’s why he goes on to say that if he fears people more than God then he is unworthy for the kingdom of God.
The Jews have been wandering for 40 years in the desert and they’re thirsty. So God tells Moses to speak to the rock and water will come forth (Numbers 20:8). The instruction to “speak” to the rock is in contrast to 40 years earlier, when Moses followed God’s instruction to HIT the rock — and water gushed out (Exodus 17:6).
But he hits the rock. Nothing happens, so Moses hits the rock a second time, and water comes out. God’s response: “Since you HIT the rock rather than speaking to it, you will not lead the Jewish people into the Land of Israel” (Numbers 20:11-12).
This action of Moses could have been out of frustration and out of fear. The Jewish people had become so arrogant and almost running over Moses’ head. So he just hit the rock.
So its important that we so not fall into this snare. Lets humble ourselves before God and do the will of God and have a clear direct relation with God rather than through people.