Trap Or Triumph

While some fears are healthy fears, the ungodly fear of any person will enslave us and will eventually spiritually destroy us. A proverb from the Holy Word of God warns us along these lines, and points us to the place of true spiritual security.
Trap Or Triumph
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2017 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

It is somewhat short and has less than twenty words in English, but those words, inspired by the Holy Spirit through King Solomon, present a very powerful lesson that speaks to both the unredeemed and redeemed. Proverbs 29:25 states, “The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in YHVH shall be safe." Basically we are reminded that quite often we have to choose between such a trap or triumph as that.

I. Trap

“The fear of man brings a snare, . . .”

Not all fears are bad. In the natural realm, certain fears protect us from harm.  In the spiritual

realm, the fear of God can bring us to Him. Before I had surrendered to Christ I was definitely afraid of the judgments in the Revelation of Jesus Christ and knew if these things were true I was not ready. Early in the book of Proverbs we read that the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.

The opposite of the fear of God is the fear of man. It can come from many sources. One of the most powerful sources could be one’s family, even their immediate family. Note what Jesus says (and what milk toast ministers never speak on lest they lose any of their followers) in Matthew 10:31-39.

"So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. 32 Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. 34 Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”

Along with relatives, sources of fear can be friends, fellow workers, employers, and even people in your denomination, religion, or fellowship. Really anyone or any group can be a source of fear. I would also like to point out sometimes telemarketers can be intimidating with questions like, “why don't you want to save money?" And, of course, there are the scammers like the fake Internal Revenue Service (U.S.A.) calls.

The fear is delivered in various forms like ridicule, and various threats including loss of work, litigation, abandonment, divorce, and death. Since we have a natural social desire not to be shamed, many will try to “shame” a Christian when they take a godly stand. We need to learn to not be fearful of being called prude, homophobic, islamaphobic, a religious fanatic and other “titles.” Fear of man might be attached to our pride (fearing what people think), self-esteem, timidity, and any weakness (emotional, spiritual, physical).

It is quite frequent, and for some it is every day or many times a day, that we are confronted, with some level of fear, with whether or not we are going to participate or go along with something ungodly. Here are just a few possible scenarios. Being “encouraged” / coerced to do nothing or go along . . .
* . . . when a sinful scene comes on a video / movie.
* . . . when a social gathering gets sinful, like when sex, alcohol, or drugs are introduced.
* . . . with activities that go against Biblical principles. One example of this is the Christmas time gift exchange where you can “steal” another’s  gift. Just what are we teaching children when we do this?
* . . . with sinful religious practices like kneeling before a Holy Communion wafer or bowing or genuflecting before a person, statue, symbol, object or anything else.

Sadly some that name the Name of Christ do things like that and at times it is because they think there is a mandate from God to always be people of peace. Many times, though, when the Holy Bible speaks of Christians as being people of peace we must think of what real peace is: reconciliation with God through Christ. Notice the balance in Hebrews 12:14 (KJV), “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Many milk toast ministers are emphasizing love and peace and never, if hardly ever, the holiness of God. Search the entire Word of God and you will see holiness is the much more common quality of God and what He expects in His people than peace or even love. His holiness defines the peace and love we are to have.

Snares, And The Special Snare

Basically, the fear of man raises its ugly head anytime a person or group of persons encourages, prompts, insists you obey or follow them or an ungodly law of man rather than God. Give in once and you will have a tendency to give in again and again. You become ensnared because each time you give in you become spiritually weaker.

However, there is hope in Christ. If you have failed do not think that you have “blown it” forever. Remember that Peter denied Christ three times and was forgiven by Christ. Also, if Christ told Peter to forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22), He will forgive us if we sincerely repent. If you stay in Christ and progress, tackling challenges by His life and not in your strength, you will spiritually become stronger. You will eventually forget your failures and remember His victories in your life.

By His strength practice overcoming ungodly fears and avoiding snares so you gain more of His strength. Doing so and remaining dedicated to God through Christ prepares you to avoid the major snare that is coming upon the earth. When you have time, please listen to my message, “The Snare: An Apocalyptic Warning" located at the link referenced below {1}.

This major snare is spoken of in Isaiah 24:17-18. Isaiah 24 has been described as Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse. “Snare” in Proverbs 29:25 is a general term for snare {2}, but the snare of Isaiah 24:17-18 is a fowler’s snare and is the one Christ was referring to in Luke 21:35. It is highly probable it occurs during the Great Tribulation which will include the mark of the Beast (Revelation 13). There will come a time no one will be able to buy or sell without that mark {3}, but taking that mark will mean definite doom in the lake of fire (Revelation 14:9-11).

II. Triumph

“. . . But whoever trusts in YHVH shall be safe.”

Whoever: This “whoever” could include to a degree the unsaved. I feel there are many instances where God permits the unsaved to “taste and see that YHVH is good” (Psalm 34:8) so they are encouraged to be converted by Him. But, of course, it means any disciple of Christ whether they be timid or bold, well or sickly. It includes the spiritually weak and the spiritually strong, the weak willed and the strong willed (but they must not be trusting in self or any resources), someone without power (like Gideon in Judges ) and someone with power (like Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19  when he received a threatening letter from an Assyrian officer, and Hezekiah did not trust in himself or his resources).

Trusts: Of the possible Hebrew words the Holy Spirit could have used, this is the most broad and probably most generally used. I note that in the English it comes across in the sense of the continuous present. We are to keep on trusting.

Until we go to be with the Lord there will always be occasions when people try, or just incidentally, bring fear to us and have us place trust in something or someone other than God. One thing that has helped me is the realization that God can take your fear and help you to look at it as a goodly challenge. After all, when I was a child there were a few times I got into mischief because it was sort of a scary thrill to do something wrong. Now, there are times God will tell me to do something that might involve trouble with the law or stir up someone's anger against me. By His grace the “scariness"


of the situation becomes a challenge.

A major key to trusting in God is being led by the Holy Spirit just as Jesus Christ was. Do not be pushed or pulled around by fear, but be Holy Spirit led. This is a great Life to learn to live. One develops holy habits {4}, like Daniel who had the habit of praying three times a day specifically toward Jerusalem while exiled in Babylon (Daniel 6). This is a case where it is good that one is “set in there ways” especially when those ways are godly.

Trusting in God finds a sure foundation when one dwells in Christ. Thinking of the snare in Proverbs 29 and the coming “fowler's snare" it would be good for us to carefully and prayerfully read Psalm 91. Here are the first ten verses of that psalm in the English Standard Version*:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 
2 I will say to YHVH, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made YHVH your dwelling place--- the Most High, who is my refuge---10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent."

In YHVH: In many translations and versions when translators come across the tetragrammaton they render it LORD, and sometimes, sadly, just Lord. It is an actual name and although the exact pronunciation remains debatable to a degree that Name expresses something about God that needs to be brought out each time His Name appears: He is The Existing One. He always was, is, and will be. He remains the same no matter what any society thinks of Him. Nothing got Him going, nothing keeps Him going, and nothing will stop Him. And as much as I appreciate and enjoy certain aspects of science I have come to the conclusion that the only thing really constant is God.

In the simple proverb before us the holy Name YHVH stands in stark contrast with “man” {5}. God is The Existing One while each person is transient and temporary. YHVH is all powerful while all men are weak and failing. He is all knowing and as “smart” as man seems to be our knowledge is minute compared to God’s and is often in error. God is everywhere and unchangeable while man is very limited and unstable in many ways. God, of course, is completely pure and it should be very apparent that man is not.

Shall be safe: Actually, this is “to be set (securely) on high.” Snares are set on earth. Be earthly, worldly minded, resort to others before you resort to God, and you will be ensnared-- many times. The contrast in this proverb signals us to set our heart, mind, and life on God above, His will, His kingdom, and do not be influenced, even in the slightest, with the things of this world.

Just like a bird is far more safe in a tree than on the ground, and the kingdom of heaven was likened by Christ as a tree that was a haven for birds (Matthew 13:31-32), if we place our full trust in The Existing One we will be free from the grip of spiritual predators. Figuratively speaking, being set on high would symbolize being “closer to God”. Also, the higher one is, the more further they can see. Christ told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would dwell within them and will tell them “of things to come” (John 16:13).

Another aspect of being set on high from this proverb points to the time when Christ told His disciples (Matthew 5:14), “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” All of us who are disciples of Christ must practice not reacting like the unsaved to fear, but fully trusting in God, enjoying His peace and direction. This is one way we can be a beacon of hope to the lost, pointing them to the salvation offered by God through Christ.

“Set on high” also points to the fact that those who truly come to Christ are no longer part of this world. They are no longer an “inhabitant of earth” (note the wording of Isaiah 24:17 which mentions a snare). Once someone comes to God through Christ they then have their citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Not only is a true disciple a citizen of heaven, they are a son (child) of God (John 1:12), and a king and a priest (Revelation 1:6).

Escape Snares, And The Snare To Come

Proverbs 29:25 begins with “The fear of man brings a snare.” Again, if we read the entire book of Proverbs we will see this is also in stark contrast to the the earlier statements in Proverbs that the fear of YHVH is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10), and is a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27).

The fear of YHVH also endures forever (Psalm 19:9), and brings many other blessings. By God’s grace through Christ conquer snares now, because there are many indications that the main snare, the fowler’s snare, is about to come on the earth. Turn to God through Christ now.

Notes:

{1} “The Snare: An Apocalyptic Warning" located at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#m175

{2} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

{3} Device Has Been Invented To Facilitate The Mark Of The Beast https://oasisofhope.neocities.org/mob.html

{4} The Triumph Of Godly Habits http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#m400

{5} Used in the proper traditional sensible sense, denoting all people, male and female. I could not care less about being politically correct.

This article was written in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by May 20, 2017 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M450 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. * = For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.



Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Posted on 28-04-2017 45 0

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