The Offense of Fearing Man
Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned, for I
have transgressed the
commandment of the Lord and your words, because I
feared the people
and obeyed their voice. (1 Samuel 15:24)
Why did Saul obey the people instead of God?
Because he feared the
people instead of God. He feared the human
consequences of obedience
more than he feared the divine consequences of
sin. He feared the
displeasure of the people more than the
displeasure of God. And that
is a great insult to God.
In fact, Isaiah says it is a kind of pride to be
afraid of what man
can do while we disregard the promises of God. He
quotes God with this
piercing question: I, I am he who comforts you;
who are you that you
are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who
is made like grass,
and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker? (Isaiah
Fear of man may not feel like pride, but that is
what God says it is:
Who do you think you are to fear man and forget
me your Maker!
The point is this: If you fear man, you have begun
to deny the
holiness, the worth, of God and his Son, Jesus.
God is infinitely
stronger. He is infinitely wiser and infinitely
more full of reward
To turn from him out of fear of what man can do is
to discount all
that God promises to be for those who fear him. It
is a great insult.
And in such an insult God can take no pleasure.
On the other hand when we hear the promises and
trust him with
courage, fearing the reproach brought upon God by
our unbelief, then
he is greatly honored. And in that he has pleasure.