True biblical teaching is becoming more and more unpopular these days and many so-called pastors are selling out to the applause of men. Churches are beginning to accept multiple ways to God, cars lining up in church parking lots with blasphemous “coexist” bumper stickers. Further, sexual perversion of all kinds is increasingly seen as okay, perversions which used to be “not so much as named among the Gentiles” as the Apostle said to the church at Corinth. The majority of teenagers in churches across the country today are sexually active; abortion is used as a convenience to avoid the responsibilities of parenthood; cohabitation before marriage is increasingly regarded as normal; homosexuals are being ordained to the clergy; and churches are beginning to accept transgender individuals as normal instead of individuals living in willful sin.
Proverbs 29:25 says:
“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”
The word translated as “fear” in this verse is חֲרָדָה charadah, and refers to “anxiety,” or an “action showing care or concern.”¹ Today, it seems that many Christians – not wanting to appear unloving – have started to allow public opinion to dictate what they are willing to say. The prophet Daniel, however, was willing to face his own death by the mouths of lions rather than to withhold his public prayer for just 10 days. Human wisdom would have said, “You’re moving up in this country and have the favor of the king. Don’t throw all that away for just 10 days. You can better serve the Lord alive.” Yet, Daniel refused to change his habit, “his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Daniel 6:10). Christians should love sinners, but should vehemently hate the things they do, calling them to repent and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The apostle says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). However, when the world tells the Christian that he or she must not express his or her faith, the duty of the Christian is to continue expressing their faith in both word and deed. Caring about what other people think will always make you subject to the public’s changing whims; that’s why politicians are known for changing their minds so often depending on what is popular at any given moment.
The Christian, however, lives life differently, trusting in the Lord rather than man. Proverbs 29:25 continues, “but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” The word used here for “trust” is בָּטַח batach, meaning “to confide in any one, to set one’s hope and confidence upon any one,” the highest level of trust.² Further, the word translated by the KJV as “safe” is שָׂגַב sagav, and refers to much more than “safety,” but to “be inaccessible, be strong, be high.”³
Therefore, this verse could be paraphrased to say, “Anxiety about what people think sets a trap, but whoever confides in the LORD shall be safely exalted.”
Far too many Christians are ensnared by fear of what others may think while not even considering what the LORD of the Universe thinks. The question is, therefore, are you confiding in the LORD, or do you allow what others think of you to keep you from doing His will? If you are letting what others think of you keep you from doing His will, whether it be witnessing, speaking to a friend or co-worker about Christ, etc., the solution is to confide in the LORD. Take the matter to Him in earnest prayer. That is the only way to avoid stepping into the snare of public opinion.
¹ James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
² Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2003), 112.
³ James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament)