July 08, 2021 – Thursday
Proverbs 29:25 NIV
25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
Proverbs 29:25 NOG
25 A person’s fear sets a trap for him, but one who trusts Yahweh is safe.
Proverbs 29:25 NASB 1995
25 The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.
At first I wondered if this should have read “Fears of man” but looking at all the versions here it was clear the correct reading is “Fear of man” which somehow the Names of God (NOG) version omits. All three versions are clear that this fear either sets a trap or will prove to be a snare or brings a snare.
What kind of fear is it that creates or simply is a snare or trap? I remember growing up with a dictum that you do the right thing so you can look yourself in the mirror or being able to sleep at night, both meaning without shame. Here the stakes are even higher in the sense that we will do things out of physical fear of what a man (or woman) might do or out of fear of not fitting in. Such fears can lead us to be quiet when we know something is wrong and we fear saying so. This leads to a quote many of us know well, The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. (As a side note this quote is often erroneously attributed to Edmond Burke instead of John Stuart Mill where it seems more of a summation of Mill’s inaugural address at the University of St. Andrews. Others doubt is was John Stuart Mill’s quote as well.)
The truth of the quote though is that fear of suffering, being ostracized, or harmed by men often leads men to not do the right thing as opposed to those who trust in Yahweh. This is because once the fear takes hold one time it can take hold another, and then another and then another again and again until one is trapped in such fear and there is no longer any trust in God at all. Then we are left without faith, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him Hebrews 11:6 NIV.
However, letting your trust in God guide you, lets you live a life without being trapped in fear and secure in His promises and salvation. In doing so we are kept safe from falling into the evil of doing nothing or into the evil or participating in evil itself. The NASB 1995 version is included as the word translated safe in most versions is translated exalted there and while both are valid translations, it is interesting to consider God exalts those who trust in Him instead of being trapped in fear or fears of man. Either way, it is good to know we are kept safe by trusting in God and His promises.
Before closing here is the preceding verse, The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies; they are put under oath and dare not testify. And here the closing verse only two verses past our verse of the day, The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright. Both point to putting our trust in God and doing the right thing.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your wonderful promise of safety when we trust in You and Your promises make it so much easier to turn away from whatever fear we have of those around us. Thank You for such wonderful promises. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.