Truth, Understanding, Insight

Fearing Man or God?

19th June 2010, hej


Let us ponder the power of God over our lives. 'Shall there be evil in a city and the LORD has not done it?' The fate of the sons of Israel shows that surely nothing has been done, of blessing, dispersal and regathering which had not been revealed to the servants the prophets (Amos 3:6-7). Who do we therefore fear?

Let us take a concrete example. The Egyptian midwives who did not fear Pharaoh and defied him were blessed as they saved the sons of Israel and, therefore 'God dealt well with the midwives' (Exodus 1:17-20) 'And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.' (Exodus 1:21). If we fear God he makes us houses.

The leaders of the tribes that went up to spy the land with Joshua and Caleb said,

'We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eats up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.' (Numbers 13:31-33)

That generation that feared sinful humans because they seemed strong perished, and another generation at the time of Isaiah was told,

'Have ye not known? have ye not heard? has it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sits upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in: That brings the princes to nothing; he makes the judges of the earth as vanity.' (Isaiah 40:21-23)

The Law stated,

'You shall not respect persons in judgment; but you shall hear the small as well as the great;
you shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's' (Deuteronomy 1:17).

The Proverbs declare,

the fear of man brings a snare: but whosoever puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe. Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment comes from the LORD. (Proverbs 29:25-26).

King Saul's great failure was in this matter. And Saul said unto Samuel, 'I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and your words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.' (1Samuel 15:24).

Job was righteous as he 'feared God and refused evil' (Job 1:1), yet Job was tested and not immune from God's hand causing suffering in his life to teach him wisdom, in an example that we may, 'gird up our loins and not condemn God to make ourselves righteous.' (Job 40:8).

It is in the fear of the LORD and keeping the Law that life is prolonged (Deut. 6:2). 'For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear you God. If you see the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regards; and there be higher than they. Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.' (Ecclesiastes 5:7-9). No king, ruler or leader is immune to the power that God may unleash on his source of income, or his people.

King Solomon's advice,

'Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.' (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14),

This doesn't say the present evil being perpetrated by many of the nations leaders will be prevented, only judged.

Are the servants of God greater than Jeremiah? He wrote,

'O LORD,you have deceived me, and I was deceived: you are stronger than I, and have prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocks me. For since I spoke, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side.

It is not that we are made without fear, of what humans will do to us, but that if we fear God more than man, we have the Strength of God with us,

'Report, say they, and we will report it. All my neighbours watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him. But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten. But, O LORD of hosts, that try the righteous, and see the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause. (Jeremiah 20:7-12).

If the righteous are tried, what is the fate of those that fear and slavishly follow doctrines of humans?

Happy are those who fear always (Proverbs 28:15), which is to say that the prudent foresee evil and hide themselves (Proverbs 22:3). Only fools have no fear of God (Psalm 14:1). Fools end up slaves to their fears and the fear of humans with 'their eyes to the ends (borders) of the earth' (Prov. 17:24), and they worry needlessly about what shall be after them (Eccles.10:14). Their lips are their destruction. All people, if they live long, will at some point face events that may bring fear or terror.

Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also has set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him. (Eccl 7:13-14)
But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 11:8)

Those who fear God, will see the events very differently, and be delivered from needless fear.

Israel's great leaders, were not without fear regarding events they were called on to face. Jacob, who was named Israel, was a man who feared. The name Israel was given due to Jacob's actions when he feared what his brother would do (Genesis 32). Jacob placed gifts before himself to appease his brother, a practical step, but Jacob sought, by his own strength, all night the power of God over Esau, and was granted it at daybreak (32:28). No one should underestimate what Jacob did that night, and why the God of the Bible is happy to be known as the God of Jacob.

Joshua was no longer young when he led his nation's army to conquer the land, and many times he was told, be strong and of good courage, 'Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be you dismayed: for the LORD your God is with thee where so ever you go. (Joshua 1:9). Israel were commanded by Moses to encourage and strengthen Joshua (Deuteronomy 3). It was not as if the sons of Anak had become shorter or fewer in 40 years, and in any case Joshua had become older. As an old man Joshua led Israel to fight the 5 kings of the Amorites at Gibeon. And he is told, 'Fear them not' (Joshua 10:8). Joshua then leads the army to travel all night, they then fight in the day, then in the sight of Israel as the day is fading Joshua asks for the moon and sun to stand still so they can keep fighting! And what is more the moon and sun stood still.

The Torah required that when the people went to war that, 'the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart.' (Deuteronomy 20:8). Gideon when taking on the Midianites did this with his meagre forces of 32,000 and was left with a mere 10,000 which was still, according to God, too many. With a mere 300 at the well of Harod, Gideon was afraid (Judges 7:10), yet, given evidence, he went believing that victory was certain, and achieved it.

From Job, to Jacob, Moses, to Joshua and David who asked always, 'do I go up?', to Habakkuk, we know that a person or a nation's leader may speak to God. There is a power there, that, if it be to the will of God we may plead for. But all of these feared God from day to day and humbly asked of God for direction. There was no help for those who loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43, Romans 2:29).

When the people fear what the nations think, submitting to political correctness, they can do no better than the nations. Many of the servants in the past, including the prophets Jeremiah and Zechariah who was slain, and Jesus (Yeshua) have had to die for maintaining obedience to the fear of God.

Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).

Yeshua concludes, No sparrow falls on the ground without God knowing, and the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear you not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.

Daniel was shown we are not to fear rulers, 'the matter by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will, and sets up over it the basest of men. (Daniel 4:17). The angel that came to Daniel to speak of the fate of the people (Daniel 10) and the great conflict of the powers over the Land, spoke of struggling 21 days with the Pince of Persia and, with further angelic help, prevailing. To Daniel was said, 'O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto you, be strong, yea, be strong.' (Daniel 10:19). And Daniel was strengthened.

Paul who went to prison then death at the hands of the power of his day, tells us the same.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1-4)
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1Peter 3:12-15)

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