FEAR OF MAN - Month of August

By Judy Nichols

August 1, 2017


    After Moses encountered God at the burning bush and reluctantly received his commission to return to Egypt to secure the release of the Israelites, he went back to his father-in-law and asked his permission to go. While he was there, God spoke to him again, assuring him that the people in Egypt who had sought to kill him were dead.

    I find it interesting that of all the reasons Moses gave to God for why he wasn’t the right man for the job, the fact that there was a price on his head wasn’t one of them. As a fugitive, that should have been first on his list. True, it had been forty years since he left, but the knowledge that one is a hunted man probably doesn’t fade all that quickly. And the thought of returning to the scene of the crime would be a fearful one.

    Maybe Moses didn’t want to remind God of the fact that he was a murderer. I’m sure he wasn’t proud of it and equally sure he knew he could not run away from God the way he’d run away from Egypt. Perhaps his obedience was at least partially based on the knowledge that God could easily have condemned and executed him on the spot, but didn’t. More likely, Moses’ awe and fear of God in his encounter at the burning bush was so great that any fear of man shrank to nothing by comparison.

    For whatever reason, Moses showed no fear of man, no fear of going back to Egypt to confront the king and demand Israel’s release. Yet he asked his father-in-law for permission to leave!

    I believe these are not contradictory ideas. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, would have been the head of the household. Out of respect for his position, Moses would have been in subjection to him. It would have shown utmost disrespect to announce his intentions or, worse, just up and leave.

    But Moses had no obligation to a pagan king who was oppressing God’s people. Even though he had absolute power over all of Egypt, the Pharaoh’s power was nothing compared to God’s sovereign power over the universe He created and ruled.

    So what’s the lesson for us today? If we have truly met this God we serve and know that our sins deserve His punishment, we should be aware of His absolute power and authority over us. Our submission to Him is reflected in our willingness to submit to His delegated authorities over us.

    Yet at great personal cost He paid that debt Himself in the death of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, on our behalf. The Apostle John said, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment" (1 John 4:18). We who know God’s perfect love – poured out on us because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – should have no fear of man because we know the One who saves and keeps us, nourishes us, defends us, protects us, sanctifies us, and will redeem us to perfection and immortality when He returns.

© Judy Nichols 2017

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