Fearing Man & Forgetting God
Isaiah 51:12-13 (ESV) – “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor?”
We are fallen creatures. This brings all sorts of foolish decisions out of our lives. But one of the biggest things we see as a result of our fallen nature is we get things backwards. Things we ought to despise are the things we love. The things we ought to love we often despise. What is beautiful we can call ugly. What is ugly we call beautiful. We love what is false and loathe what is true. We invert things as a result of our broken nature. One of the things we get backwards is fear of God and fear of man.
Our passage today reflects this reality. We read in Isaiah, “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor?”
Notice in the passage the LORD is speaking. He says that He is the One who comforts them, but they fear men. All men are mortal. They die. They are creatures like everything else. Yet we often fear man and not the One who makes man. God says that they have forgotten the LORD, their Maker – the One who created Heaven and Earth, and everything in it. They fear the wrath of man rather than the wrath of their Creator.
This is an accurate description of the world today. Many fear the opinion of man. They desperately want to be loved and approved of by the world. God is the only One worthy of our fear. He is the giver of life. He can also take it. God is the eternal One who never dies. He rules and reigns over the cosmos. Why would we prioritize man’s opinion?
Don’t fear other men. Fear God.
Order your priorities around pleasing God and living for His glory. If men despise you, fine. If they threaten you, fine. We serve the One who holds the power of life and death. He is the One we will stand before in judgment.
He alone is worthy of our lives and fear.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why do we often fear men above God?
- What does our misappropriated fear of man reveal about us?
- How can we guard ourselves against fear of man? What does it look like to live with proper fear of God?
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