Our study has shown that the word “whoso” is found 27 times in Proverbs. These occurrences account for half of the instances in which the word is found throughout the entirety of the Bible. In this installment we conclude our examination of these dozen Proverbs passages in which this word is found.
As recorded in Proverbs 29:25, Solomon stated, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Two prominent thoughts are revealed in this contrast: 1) The fear of man ensnares; 2) Trust in the Lord preserves. In our seemingly ever-increasing violent society, it is of comfort to know deep down in our heart of hearts that there is really nothing to fear in man, and everything to gain by depending on God and living in accordance to His precepts.
When considering the idea of fearing man, it is interesting to note at least two major figures in Scripture who lost their footing because of their fear of what men might do. On two occasions, Abraham lied and coerced Sarah into doing the same because he was afraid he would be killed (Gen. 12:10ff; 20:1ff). Similarly, Peter denied the Lord three times likely because of his fear of what those around him would do (Mt. 26; Mk. 14; Lk. 22; Jn. 18). Three passages directly instruct us not to fear what man is able to do (Ps. 56:4; 118:6; Heb. 13:6). Jesus stated, “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do” (Lk. 12:4). At the same time, however, there is to be a healthy respect for the positions of authority that men hold. Government was established by God and is for the benefit of law-abiding citizens (Rom. 12:1-4).
While the fear of man is not to be allowed to deter and ensnare the Christian, the fear of God is to serve as a motivation. From the aforementioned record in Luke 12 Jesus followed the comment about not fearing man with this statement about fearing God: “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Lk. 12:5). Solomon concluded his thoughts in the book of Ecclesiastes with this statement: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13). Indeed, “whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” But, “the fear of man bringeth a snare.” In whom is your trust? Whom do you fear?