February 12, 2019
Good Morning Fellow Travelers,
Read: Proverbs 29:25-30:9 and Matthew 10:24-33
“…Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.” Deuteronomy 4:10
The Word of God has much to say about the fear of man and how that militates against a right fear of God. The reading today reminds us that God is displeased with man-fear.
The fear of man is a trap, and it imprisons and paralyzes us.
When Jesus sent out the disciples to evangelize, He knew that they would be rejected and persecuted, because of the divisive nature of the Gospel. So He warned them to fear God, and avoid a fear of man.
What does man-fear look like? We are afraid we will be hurt. Even faithful Abraham revealed his cowardice when he lied about Sarah being his sister to both Pharaoh and Abimelech in Genesis 12 and 20. This revealed a fear of man that surely hindered his testimony.
You will not die a moment before your allotted time. This makes faithful missionaries fearless in the face of even hostile people groups.
The fear of man is revealed in the fear of exposure. We play hide and seek. For too many people, each day is a masquerade. Putting on a mask in the morning is as regular an activity as brushing our teeth, or eating our cereal. We are terrified that we will be exposed for what we really are. We worry about what they will think. We hide, afraid we’ll hear, “Adam, where art thou?”
We also face the fear of rejection. Many youth fall here. I really believe that most of us would be ready to die for Christ, rather than live for Him. If being a Christian meant death we would say, “Yes, I am ready.” But if making a decision for Christ would mean spending years being unpopular, and poor, and criticized, and ignored, then many are ready to put radical Christianity on the shelf.
Let us be like Isaiah. When he saw the holiness of God, he responded, “Here am I, send me.”
– James Baer