May 23, 2018
"Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety." Proverbs 29:25 (NLT)
As a recovering people-pleaser, I find it hard to go against what other people want.
Whether it's trying something new for dinner or confronting dishonesty, if I suspect my idea or opinion might go against others, chances are I won't voice it.
Fear of people, especially fear of displeasing them, has been a powerful enemy in my life; I continually need God's help. When fear of others - their opinions, acceptance, approval - drives my decisions, I never win. Fear of others is a frustrating trap, and it is taking me a long time to learn we never please everyone.
What would it be like to be so bold and brave and sure of what you believed that you wouldn't worry about standing up to ... the ruler of a country?
Shiphrah and Puah, the midwives in Exodus 1, did just that in ancient Egypt. They defied Pharaoh's command to drown every Hebrew boy they delivered.
Exodus 1:17 tells us, "The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live" (NIV). They lived the words of Proverbs 29:25, which is our key verse today: "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety."
Why did they have the confidence to do what most of us wouldn't?
They feared God over fearing Pharaoh. That fear was not distress aroused by possible danger, evil or pain, but love, hope and reverence toward God. Jeremiah 32:38-40 explains:
"They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me" (NKJV).
When we fear God - when love, hope and reverence become our heart's attitude toward God, we are propelled to obey God. When I can say, "I love Him more than I love the approval and acceptance of other people," my love for Him becomes the force behind the decisions I make.
When I find myself in a challenging situation, I am empowered with confidence to choose the way that honors Him, even if it is the hardest decision. When He is the Lord of our lives, He gives us united hearts that follow His ways. Not that we are never torn between honoring God or making other people happy, but we lean into that love for Him, all the while knowing that is for our good as well.
The midwives Shiphrah and Puah made the hard choice to go God's way instead of Pharaoh's. Good didn't come immediately. No, at first, Pharaoh expanded his diabolical plan. He gave this order to all: "Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live" (Exodus 1:22b, NLT). He ordered the Israelites to make more bricks without the supplies they needed.
As the Hebrews confidently waited on their God, God raised up His plan for redemption ... Moses. (Yes, the Israelite leader who eventually led an entire nation out of slavery, back to the Promised Land.)
We see in the lives of Shiphrah and Puah: Fearing God always wins over fearing people. Pharaoh, who feared people, had his world washed away while the Israelites experienced God's deliverance.
This is when fear works for us - when we cultivate, nourish and feed the fear of God in our lives. No matter what comes our way. No matter what we lose or have taken from us. No matter who approves or accepts us. No matter what is falling apart around us, we choose God. We trust and believe that when we do, He will not "turn away from doing us good."
Lord, put Your fear in my heart so that I will not depart from You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 33:6, "He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure." (NIV)
Do you also desire this type of confidence? Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures, Lynn Cowell's newest book, empowers women with Christ-confidence! Get your copy here.
Visit Lynn's blog today where she's giving away a copy of her newest book for women, Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures, and the free download, "A Prayer for Confidence."
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Write a list of people or situations that cause you to feel like you cannot stand or speak up. Specifically pray over each of these, asking the Lord to help you choose to honor Him over fearing people.
Join the conversation! Let us know how you long to fear God more than people, and your plans to speak up with confidence.
© 2018 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.