“Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” – Proverbs 29:25
A snare is a trap. It entangles its victim and doesn’t allow it to move. Usually traps are made to be difficult to detect and trigger unexpectedly. They may also use some sort of bait that is appealing and will draw their quarry into the trap. Think about pits dug into the ground covered with branches or even mouse traps baited with cheese or peanut butter. You may not notice it easily or it might look good for a moment, but ultimately we end up stuck.
In what ways does “Fear of man prove to be a snare”?
- We might think we have really good reasons for our attitude towards people or a certain person (bait).
- We can be drawn in slowly before we suddenly feel ourselves caught in some way (detection).
- It can cause us not to move or take action in some way (trap).
What might fear of man look like?
- We might be afraid of what people will do or think of us and so it keeps us from taking the steps we want to take or should take.
- We care more about what other people think and say than what God says.
- We do the things we think will make other people like us or what they want us to do.
In this verse, “fear of man” and “trust in the Lord” are set up as opposites. Whenever we fear man we are not fully trusting in the Lord. We are only trusting Him up to a certain point. At whatever point the fear of man kicks in that is where we have stopped trusting the Lord.
If our boss asks us to do something unethical, but we decide to do it because we are afraid of what might happen if we don’t, we aren’t trusting the Lord to provide for our needs and fight our battles. We think the safe thing to do is to just go with what our boss says and not risk our livelihood. We may fear man with the desire of being safe, but the reality is that it’s a trap. Now what do we do the next time we are faced with a similar decision? How can we get out of it? Do you see where this goes? This is just one type of example how fear of man can lead to being trapped and in reality is a lack of trust in the Lord.
True safety and security is found in trusting the Lord. When we fully trust in the Lord He defines our value and worth, our identity, our joy. He provides for our needs and watches over our family. He gives us direction and the boldness to step out. The bait might look good for a moment, we might even be able to snatch it without getting caught every once in awhile, but eventually it is a trap and it robs us of the security that we can have in the Lord. Our place in Him is eternal.
Fear immobilizes us, trust in the Lord frees us.