At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
The fear of man bringeth a snare: But whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safeProverbs 29:25
We sometimes gloss over the specific things mentioned in many of the Proverbs, thinking that it all amounts to the same sort of thing, whether good or bad. Thus we read them as “he who does x, bad things shall happen to him, while he who does y shall find the good thing.” But there are often nuggets of wisdom to be found in those specific things.
In this proverb, I have the word snare in mind. The proverb does not say that the one who fears man shall be unsafe, while the one who fears God will be safe—although that is true enough.
No. The proverb says that the fear of man brings a snare. The contrast is with the one who puts his trust in God, and this means that he is the one who will be safe from being ensnared. Now a snare is certainly a threat, but the nature of it is that it is a hidden threat. And notice that the fear of man brings a snare. It creates a trap, a trap that you do not see.
Those who fear man are desperate to avoid certain things, and what they wind up doing is creating traps for themselves. Out of their deep concern to avoid traps, they entrap themselves. The fear of man brings a snare.
If I follow God, what will the cool kids say? If I want to be holy at work, will that cost me the promotion I need? If I take a stand for Christ, will I be mocked? In other words, the fear of man suggests numerous scenarios in which imagined threats keep me from doing right. I trust in my own ability to see the hidden snares, instead of trusting in the Lord, who knows the number of atoms in each snare.
One last thing. Notice how the fear of man and trust in the Lord are contrasted. It is not possible to trust God if you keep casting sidelong glances to see if certain important people are frowning at you.