Fear of man vs Fear of God

Fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

Fear: to have reverential awe of.

Exodus 1: 8-11 ESV – “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. ‘Come let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply and if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’ Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses.”

In the face of fear, people make bad decisions. In Exodus 1, a new king came into power in Egypt – who did not know the heart of Joseph or the character of the Israelite nation – he feared that he would lose his power. So instead of partnering with the Israelite nation, Pharaoh enslaved the Israelite people: a non-credible threat. Overnight the Israelites became slaves. This decision chained the Israelite nation to slavery for hundreds of years to come.

Too often, we find ourselves living in a place of fear. Fear has a way of controlling us. When our fear rages like rumbling waters, we begin to sink in a sea of despair and sometimes disillusionment.

  • The unwelcoming events of a world war three kind of virus causes us to unravel.
  • The unsolicited attacks on a first world country’s democracy are unnerving.
  • The loss and hurt caused by disappointment are underserving.

    All these things provoke us and cause us to react in a way of fear instead of faith.
  • Pharaoh acted irrationally and manipulatively, instead of coming up with a reasonable way of handling his concerns.
  • Pharaoh had the choice to partner with the Israelites by way of a treaty or negotiation – mitigating the so-called ‘threat’ that the booming Israelite people posed. Instead he chose to shackle them.

That’s the thing about fear – it makes no sense. It’s distressing and often, assumed.

Simply put, when people are faced with fear, they make poor decisions.

A few verses later – we see a vast contrast between how Pharoah reacted and how the midwives responded:

Exodus 1: 15-17 – “Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.”

The obedience of the midwives are often overlooked. Because of their obedience to God and not man – Moses – the greatest leader of all time, second to Jesus – lived and led the Israelite nation out of Egypt and out of slavery.

A simple act of obedience made history.

Obedience pleases the Lord. Our obedience is rewarded. Favor and blessings belong to those who respond in obedience – in a larger-than life kind of faith. This kind of faith and obedience catapults us into the greater things of God.

Obedience is the back bone of a world changing, history making kind of life.

Five things we can take away from this:

Fear of manFear of God
The fear of man provokes us to act irrationally.The fear of God leads us to act intentionally.
The fear of man causes us to react.The fear of God helps us to respond.
The fear of man holds us captive.The fear of God brings freedom.
The fear of man, silences.The fear of God, surrenders.
The fear of man gives rise to a coup.The fear of God helps us reach out to community.

Pharaoh reacted selfishly.
The midwives responded selflessly.

Pharaohs reaction resulted in oppression.
The midwives response resulted in obedience.

Pharaohs concern was lack of power.
The midwives concern was with people.

Pharaoh invoked suffering.
The midwives encouraged saving.

I challenge you today to be on the right side of history because soon the Saviour of the world will come again. Where will you be found?

In the midst of messy situations, what will your response be?

Journal your thoughts:

  1. Write down three of your biggest fears.
  2. Write down three ways in which you can stand in faith instead of fear.
  3. Allow Gods Words to diminish your fears by meditating on the following scriptures:

Isaiah 41:10 – “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Psalm 34:4 – “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”

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

Psalms 56: 3-4 – “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”

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