The failure of Israel to listen to her prophets and repent of her sins against God brought the destruction of the nation at the hands of her enemies. Israel’s relationship with their God brought glory to them and made them a respected nation in the world. Although Solomon had his own problems, the nation prospered in an environment that promoted the worship of the one true God at the new Temple in Jerusalem. They were esteemed by all the nations around them. Leaders from all over the world came to Jerusalem to hear the wisdom of Solomon, which was based on “The fear of the Lord.” But after his death, the leaders turned away from God to worship the useless gods of the people around them. They wanted to be part of the landscape like all the other nations. They wanted to be accepted by those around them. They traded the “fear of the Lord” for the “fear of man.” In Lamentations 1:6, Jeremiah tells us what happens to those who exchange the “fear of the Lord” for the “fear of man.” He says,From the daughter of Zion, all her majesty has departed. Her princes have become like deer that find no pasture; they fled without strength before the pursuer.”

 David’s son Solomon said in Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” When we see great failure in the Bible, it often involves the fear of man. Abraham feared Pharoah and Abimelech and twice lied about his wife being his sister to save his own life and to win approval. Isaac followed in his footsteps and did the same thing. While Moses was getting the ten commandments on Mount Sinai, Aaron was succumbing to the pressures of the people to build golden calves for them to worship. Saul feared man, and it caused his downfall. Even Elijah, the prophet of God, found himself hiding in a cave in fear for his life when Jezebel swore to kill him. It was the fear of man that moved Peter to deny Christ. Fear of the Pharisees caused Nicodemus to come at night to find Jesus. Solomon was right about the fear of man being a trap.

 The majesty of the nation of Israel, Zion, left her. The fear of man affected all of Israel from their early days when they began to seek acceptance from the peoples of the land. Even King David feared man and found himself suffering these consequences. When David fled from Saul, he sought acceptance from the Philistines. We learn that he scratched on the door of the gate and let the spittle run down his beard. Courson observes, “Poor David. The same guy who killed Goliath, the same one noted for courage and valor, is now falling prey to the fear of man, acting like an idiot. It’s tragic. It’s amazing to watch teenagers, adults, and even older people act like fools. It’s amazing to see people try to fit in because they’re afraid of men. It’s amazing to see people who, like David, love God and have seen victories in the Lord in times past, fearing man, look like idiots with spit running down their beards as they try to fit in and be cool.”[1]

[1] Courson, Jon. 2003. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.