Deuteronomy 1:17 Do not be afraid of any man, for judgment belongs to God.
Fearing people, not just physically but especially their opinions of us, is a major snare that can tie us in knots and keep us from the blessings of following God. Moses is here addressing people he set up as magistrates and judges over the people, delegating his authority to them. Fearing people rather than God in such people is especially bad for society because the repercussions can be so widespread, as is very evident from recent events, but most of us don’t operate in such circles. However, even for the “nobody” in society, fearing people is a snare, as it says so clearly in Proverbs 29:25. When we are more afraid of what people will think and say than we are of what God thinks, we are wide open for total failure. The converse is also true, and can be deadly. Some people don’t care what God thinks, so long as the people around them don’t disapprove. What are considered “norms” in some circles boggles my mind! People aren’t a good yardstick for evaluating anything; we’ve got to look to God. People are weak and changeable, but God is omnipotent and unchanging. He is the bedrock security we all need, and in our deepest hearts we all desire.
I’ve had my run-ins with fearing people rather than God, and the result has never been good. I am not to offend people needlessly, but I must never draw back from obeying God out of a fear of offending people. The devil is very crafty at disguising circumstances so that I don’t recognize what’s going on, so I’ve got to stay submitted to God, listening to the Holy Spirit rather than to anything else. My words and actions do impact people, and I want that impact to draw them to God rather than drive them from Him. If my life gives people the impression that it’s OK to ignore God, then I have failed miserably. I am not to be “preachy,” (That’s a hard one for me!) but I must speak the truth in love, not failing to do so because I think people might not like me for it.
Father, all of this is beyond my wisdom and ability, as so much of life is. Thank You that none of it is beyond Your wisdom and ability, and I can rest in the assurance that You will guide and empower me. Thank You for all that You are doing in these days. May I not miss any of Your appointments, but rejoice to be Your agent to all I encounter, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!