The Fear of Man

by Neil Anderson – July 27

Psalm 118:6-8
The LORD is for me; I will not fear; what can man do to me? The LORD is for me among those who help me; therefore I shall look with satisfaction on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man


David’s question in Psalm 118:6 introduces a common fear among Christians: the fear of man. The timid man is quick to respond to the question, “I’ll tell you what man can do to me. He can abuse me, he can fire me from my job, and he can even kill me.”

True, but Jesus tells us to lay those fears aside: “Do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). If you fail to take God as your refuge, the fear of man will control your life.

God appointed Saul to be the first king of Israel and commanded him to utterly destroy Amalek, along with all of his family, followers and possessions. Unfortunately, Saul didn’t completely obey. Samuel confronted Saul, and after Saul’s excuses ran out, he confessed, “I have sinned . . . because I feared the people and listened to their voice” (1 Samuel 15:24). Then the Lord rejected Saul as king of Israel. More than one king has fallen for fearing man more than God.

Suppose you are intimidated by your boss. You work in fear of him from eight to five. What power does he have over you? He could fire you! How could you overcome that power? You could quit or be willing to quit. By not allowing your boss to hold the job over your head, you would free yourself from his intimidations. God’s Word says, “Do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:14, 15).

I’m not suggesting that you rebel against your boss or become irresponsible. Servants are to obey their masters, and we are to work heartily as for the Lord rather than men (Colossians 3:22, 23). However, when you make God your sanctuary, you free yourself to live a responsible life. If you lose your job in the process, you have the assurance that God will meet all your needs.

Prayer: Lord, I want to be a God-pleaser, not a people-pleaser. Give me strength to stand up for the truth no matter what the cost.

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