Fear no man is a command. This is evidenced in multiple scriptures. Israel was warned about fearing man. Moses, God’s chosen deliverer in the Old Testament, informed the children of Israel about fearing people. Fearing man was strictly prohibited. When the people of God feared man, God was displeased. Fear may cause loss of life and it angers the Lord. We are to fear no one but God and God alone.
The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe (Proverbs 29:25).
You shall not show partiality in judgment, but hear the small as well as the great and you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence; for the judgment is God’s (Deuteronomy 1:17).
Then Saul said to 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 (1 Samuel 15:24).
The Fear of Man Brings Death
In the Old Testament, fearing men came with the Lord’s rebuke. Sometimes fear brought death. Disobeying the Lord’s command places us in judgment. God strictly prohibits the fear of man.
Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them (Numbers 14:9).
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have delivered him into your hand, with all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon (Numbers 21:34).
You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you (Deuteronomy 3:22).
Giving Fear Authority
We are never to fear men; we are told to fear God. When we fear, we are giving what we fear ‘authority’ over us; we are coming into agreement with it. Fear of man is a form of idolatry. When we fear people we give them power they are not meant to possess over us. Moreover, there is only one God. Fearing people over God is paying homage. Only God deserves our reverence.
Fear Opens Doors
Secondly, fear is a door opener to a host of other spiritual oppressions. Rebellion is a fruit of fear.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry (1 Samuel 15:23).
Rebellion against the instruction of the Lord is dangerous territory. When God tells us to do something He expects our obedience. He expects our accommodation. Fearing man prevents us from obeying God. When God says to a person, “I am fighting for you, trust Me.” and they don’t, it’s insulting. Scripture bears this out after the Lord told Israel to spy out the land of Canaan.
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight (Numbers 13:31-33).
These were afraid of the men of Canaan and their fear brought the judgment of God upon all of Israel.
Fearing Man Angers the Lord
Those in fear came under the judgment of God. Their evil report, persuaded by fear, caused a rebellion in Israel. Because of fear, Israel flatly refused to enter into Canaan which made the Lord angry.
Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they (Numbers 14:11-12).
Because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it (Numbers 14:22-24).
The men who fostered the rebellion with fear died in the wilderness (Numbers 14:36-37). Consequently, this one trespass also kept the children of Israel stuck in the wilderness for forty years (Numbers 14:32-35). God saw their fear as a witness against Him. Their fear of man brought false witness against God and they suffered the consequences.
Fear of Man Brings a False Witness
Giving our power to others in fear produces a false witness against God. When we place the fear of man over the fear of God we’re essentially saying that God is not faithful and His word is not valid.
Have you ever sought to bless someone who questioned your intent or the way you chose to bless them? It can suck the life out of the blessing. A person consumed with fear robs the giver of the joy in giving. It’s also offensive to be perceived as a threat when that’s the furthest thing from the truth.
I have dealt with this directly. It’s insulting for someone to perceive you as untrustworthy or as a person with an ulterior motive when your intention is to bless. Imagine the frustration God experienced when Israel repeatedly questioned His faithfulness? It wore Him out.
And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me (Numbers 14:26-27).
Speaking for myself, fearful people are a drain on my joy. I don’t deeply engage with people who question my motives. I pray for those who have a spirit of fear operating in their lives, but I will not subject myself to their constant scrutiny. It’s ungodly and opens the door to division so I don’t develop intimate relationships with the fearful.
Fear Can Infect Us
Just as wicked associations corrupt good morals, fear breeds fear. When we associate ourselves with faithless people entrenched in fear, the fear they carry can infect us. This bears true in a variety of situations. Consider the debates surrounding the push to jab people during covid. There are essentially two camps in this debacle: one camp believes they are protected by the blood of Jesus as promised in God’s Holy Word. The other camp is convinced they will die unless they get the medical treatment the media promotes as the cure.
Believe what you will, but I don’t spend time in the camps of doubt. It doesn’t fit the agenda of faith and the Bible says it is faith that pleases God. The only thing the Children of God are allowed to fear is God Himself and that fear is mostly manifested as reverence for His holiness and power. Contrary to what some ministers are saying, Jesus would not take a government forced inoculation.
When our personal sphere is inundated by doubt and unbelief we will misperceive truth. God is truth and He is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19). When He declares a thing, we’re to respond in faith, not fear.
Courage over Fear
When embattled in a difficult situation we need courage. It may be a challenge to fear God whom we cannot see over men who we can see; nevertheless, we have to trust the Lord. There’s a saying, “If the Lord brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.” He brings us through when we trust Him. He’s always faithful and trustworthy.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).
If threatened with loss of life, property, freedom, or some other catastrophic event it can be difficult to stand in faith; but we have to try. There is no sin in making an effort. I have found when I step out in faith to trust God He shows up for me. Things fall into place and I am able to complete the assignment. When I lack courage, I ask for His help to push me through to victory. God gives us what we need when we ask.
How Do We Fear God over Man
1. We fear God over man when we decide to fear God first. The Bible says, “Choose this day whom you will serve” We serve the Most High God. His will must be first place in our lives.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments; for this is man’s all (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
2. We know the will of God through prayer and reading the Bible. There is no other way to know God and fear Him.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
3. We put His Word into practice thus exercising our faith.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV).
4. Lastly, we safeguard our faith so we are pleasing to God. We note those who fear men over God and keep our distance.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14).
So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them:” (2 Kings 6:16).
Increasing Trust in God
Praying, reading the Word, and communicating with the Lord increases our trust in God. It’s how we build relationship with Him. Putting our faith into action moves the hand of God and gives Him permission to be the God He desires to be for us. Refusing to fear man honors the sovereignty of God who isn’t a liar. God keeps His promises and He is faithful.
If you’re struggling in this area, we are praying for you. God designed you for the blessing. His banner over you is love, so trust Him to care for you in every circumstance. If you fear man, take it to God in prayer then consume scriptures on faith. Ask God to deliver you. He will honor this request. It’s His joy to bless you.
©2022 What You Will
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The scriptures references in this text are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.