Tuesday, March 26

How can we really be safe?

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. -Proverbs 29:25

Why is the fear of man worse than the fear of God? 
It "lays a snare." Well, you say, isn't it obvious? God is greater than man. OK, that does make a lot of sense. So, again I ask, why do we fear men over God? It is certainly a misplaced trust. But sin really doesn't make much sense no matter what that sin is.

We fear man in part because we see them, which means in our mind, we don't see God! At least on a level that means the most. That's a serious problem. Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, tells us that what motivated the heroes of faith, like Moses, was that he acted on faith because he saw Him "who is invisible" (Heb. 11:27). We have good example of this unbelief in Jacob who upon waking from his ladder dream (Gen. 28) exclaimed, "Behold, God was in this place and I did not know it." Yes, it was good that he recognized God WAS there. But no, it was not necessarily good that he had not realized that until then. Not unusual truly. We tend to miss these things for we are so bound to the material world. And until God shows himself to us in an uncontested and glorious way we operate in a blind acceptance of the truth--our version of it. We bless God that Moses exhibited such faith in the midst of such opulence and power in Egypt.

But the main reason we fear man more than God is due to our low view of God and falsely inflated respect for man. So, why does the fear of man "lay a snare?" Simply because man cannot promise or fulfill what God can. So, trusting in man is bound to trip us up. When we don't take everything to God in prayer, that is one way in which we affirm that our fear of man and not God. What? Can a man, my wife, a new job or a friend or money really help me to the core? No. And when we try such things (as good as they may be in themselves) we turn God away and our hope of a true solution.

Why is trust in God safe?
First, because there are no contingencies he has not anticipated. There are no bumps in the road he is incapable of crossing. I can't change my past, but the Lord Jesus can save me from their domination in my life. What can I do about the future? But God knows it very well. No question there. Trust in the One whose reach goes in both directions, the past and forward and that with ease!

Second, trusting in the LORD is safe because his love is not conditioned on our own goodness or performance. So many have lived with the fear that they might lose the relationship they have with another. And in this world, that may very well be true, yes, may have even happened. But IT CANNOT HAPPEN WITH GOD! Has he not said, "I will never leave you, I will never forsake you" (Heb. 13:5). In the Greek language multiple negatives emphasizes a point. In this verse, there are an unprecedented FIVE, that's 5 negatives! God means to make a point. Thus, we must mean to let him! And please don't say that you're an exception.

Third, we are safe in the fear of the LORD because he is all-powerful. This is not just a doctrine to be believed, but a truth to be delighted in. Most people are not very powerful. Some of us may in fact be rather weak in any number of ways. But not God. There is no trouble which he cannot overcome. He may not want you or me to overcome our issues right away, because there may be a much larger strength we cannot gain until we suffer. But he is all-powerful just the same.

Fourth, this leads to another very important reason to be safe in the fear of the LORD, and that is because God is all-wise. In summary, God lovingly foresees all contingencies and is completely powerful to make happen even the impossible. But add to this that he is ALL WISE and you have an indomitably accurate force. He knows every harm and benefit which can come to us. And if you trust that God is good, then you can rest in his wisdom.

Lastly, God is sovereign. All of his attributes come together in this awesome truth! Here is a wonderful explanation from the Puritan, Steven Charnock:
The power of God is that ability and strength whereby He can bring to pass whatsoever He pleases, whatsoever His infinite wisdom may direct, and whatsoever the infinite purity of His will may resolve. . . . As holiness is the beauty of all God’s attributes, so power is that which gives life and action to all the perfections of the Divine nature. How vain would be the eternal counsels, if power did not step in to execute them. Without power His mercy would be but feeble pity, His promises an empty sound, His threatenings a mere scarecrow. God’s power is like Himself: infinite, eternal, incomprehensible; it can neither be checked, restrained, nor frustrated by the creature.  
Can you not see how we have every reason to be safe in God?

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