One of the most basic questions that have faced all mankind through the ages is in whom or what is worthy of our trust. And once again as would be expected, the choice boils down to whether our trust is better placed in the created or the Creator.
The Scriptures speak loudly of the choice and the reasoning for the choice.
“…Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass? And you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth…” Isaiah 51:12-13
God inquires why Israel would place their trust and confidence in ‘man’ who is transitory and not in the One who created all things, including man.
The Hebrew for ‘afraid’ means fearful anticipation of potential harm. And the Hebrew for ‘forgot’ means to be oblivious to for lack of attention, i.e. it is a conscious setting aside of something known or proven. It is so much more than a slip of the mind; it is a deliberate action.
The wisest man in the world Solomon also addressed the issue.
“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice for man comes from the LORD.” Proverbs 29:25-26
The fear of what transitory man could do is really a snare, i.e. trap, but such can be avoided by trusting in the One who made man. Solomon reminds the people that justice for man does not rest with a human ruler, but rather in God Himself.
Again, fear in the present context is synonymous with afraid in the foregoing Isaiah passage. It is a human emotion expressing anxiety and/or anticipation that something could go drastically wrong.
Remember when Saul caved in to the fear of the people and disobeyed God’s specific instructions.
“Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” 1 Samuel 15:3
Saul did in fact attack the Amalekites as instructed:
“But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them…” 1 Samuel 15:9
When Samuel confronted Saul, Saul admitted that he and the people thought they had a better plan than God’s. He told Samuel that the best of the animals were not slain so they could be offered to God.
Samuel’s response was that it was better to obey than to sacrifice.
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice…Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23
And so it was, Saul’s kingdom was taken from him. Saul’s response:
“…I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD…I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” 1 Samuel 15:24
Saul knew God’s word and decided to override it. Do this nation’s leaders think the same as Saul?
When drafting foreign policy is the underlying motive to increase the voting base of a particular ideology? And if so, is God’s word even a factor?
Specifically does America’s foreign policy regarding Israel reflect Godly wisdom or the fear of international disdain?
Are present negotiations with Iran based on Godly wisdom or fear of what Putin might do?
The answers are fairly obvious.
The prophet Jeremiah clearly delineated the two choices, i.e. to either trust in man or the LORD, to choose to be blessed or to be cursed.
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD, for he shall be like a shrub in the desert…Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD, for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters…” Jeremiah 17:5-6a, 7-8a