The Snare of the Fear of Man

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A devotion on excerpts from Proverbs 29

5 A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.

13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common: the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.

25 The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected.

26 Many seek a ruler’s favor, but a man receives justice from the Lord.

  • Commentator Guzik defines flattery as to “excessively praise or give attention to a neighbor with the hope of gaining influence or status. Flattery is a vicious trap that is easy to fall into both as a flatterer and as the flattered. It takes great discernment and maturity to avoid this 2-sided trap of people pleasing and manipulation. Flattery is a pregnancy that regularly bears still-borns. If you are in this habit, ask Holy Spirit to shine a light into your heart to expose (zahar) occasions and reasons why you do this and help you eradicate this disorder from your life.
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Of those who fall into it, as Guzik quotes Bridges “And therefore they do not ask, ‘What should I do?’ but ‘What will my friends think of me?’ They cannot brave the finger of scorn…. Oh, for deliverance from this principle of bondage.” This bondage proves that we fear man more than we fear God. That we seek to please fickle man more than we seek to please the enduring God. That we fear our peers more than we fear our Master. What a lame and fruitless plight!

  • What do the oppressor and the poor have in common? Their source. God is their genesis and their sustenance. In the Sermon on the Mount, (Matthew 5:45) Jesus says of the Father: “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” The common thinking was ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ Jesus flips that on its head and says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (vs. 43–44). Why would we do that? “That you may be children of your Father in heaven,” i.e., that we may behave like our Father.

Many blessings God gives are not dependent on our goodness. God even blesses evil men – with breath, with health, with sun, with rain, with family, with success, etc. He knows well that it is his kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). Remember that as baseline, there is no one righteous, none who does good. Everything anyone has is from his grace. So, just as God loves his enemies, so we should love ours too.

“Honest hearers want honest preaching; and if they find that the preachers message comes home to them, they thank God that it is so.”


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