Proverbs 29

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As we begin a new year, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the first 31 days of the year. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. If you missed the first day’s reading or are looking for an overview of the book, click here to catch up!

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Read Proverbs 29

29 Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
    will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
    when the wicked rule, the people groan.

A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
    but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

By justice a king gives a country stability,
    but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.

Those who flatter their neighbors
    are spreading nets for their feet.

Evildoers are snared by their own sin,
    but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.

The righteous care about justice for the poor,
    but the wicked have no such concern.

Mockers stir up a city,
    but the wise turn away anger.

If a wise person goes to court with a fool,
    the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.

10 The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity
    and seek to kill the upright.

11 Fools give full vent to their rage,
    but the wise bring calm in the end.

12 If a ruler listens to lies,
    all his officials become wicked.

13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
    The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.

14 If a king judges the poor with fairness,
    his throne will be established forever.

15 A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom,
    but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
    but the righteous will see their downfall.

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;
    they will bring you the delights you desire.

18 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
    but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

19 Servants cannot be corrected by mere words;
    though they understand, they will not respond.

20 Do you see someone who speaks in haste?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

21 A servant pampered from youth
    will turn out to be insolent.

22 An angry person stirs up conflict,
    and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.

23 Pride brings a person low,
    but the lowly in spirit gain honor.

24 The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies;
    they are put under oath and dare not testify.

25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

26 Many seek an audience with a ruler,
    but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.

27 The righteous detest the dishonest;
    the wicked detest the upright.

Go Deeper

Proverbs 29:25 states that the “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Antithetical parallelism is a literary device that we have seen used frequently throughout the book of Proverbs. There are countless verses that contrast two opposing ideas to each other. We see this in verse 25 where Solomon contrasts the idea of fearing man to fearing the Lord. Solomon likens fearing man to be similar to a snare. A snare is a wire noose, usually attached to a stationary object, and used to capture animals. A snare is a dangerous trap. Things can get entangled in it and it is known for being deeply deceptive. It stops something, and steals its freedom. They should be avoided at all costs. 

Likewise, fearing people is a dangerous trap. It is something that stops us and steals our freedom. Many of us fear people more than we fear God. It might be a sin that we don’t often think much of. This might look like compromising our values, peer pressure, people pleasing, saying yes when we should really say no, a low self-esteem, jealousy, anxiety, and ultimately taking our eyes off the Lord and onto people. It looks like being a version of ourselves that someone else chooses. It doesn’t give us the freedom to fully be ourselves. It might also be the reason we don’t share our faith with others. Entire dominations have given into the fear of man when it comes to some of the issues of our day. The fear of man is exhausting. It weighs down on us because it is a weight we weren’t meant to carry. It is misplaced faith. This is something we need to lay before the feet of Jesus and surrender to Him. We should confess and trust that God is in control over what people think of us. 

Our goal is ultimately the approval of God. Paul writes in Galatians 1:10, “For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” The trap of people pleasing and fearing man can be avoided by fearing the Lord and putting our complete trust in Him. One of the key ideas in the book of Proverbs is that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). If the fear of the Lord leads to wisdom, then the fear of man leads to foolishness. Fearing the Lord looks like being in awe and reverence of Him, and trusting that He is sovereign over all things. We must get the place where the approval of God drives our decision making, not the approval of people. Scripture says that “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). We ultimately love people better when we’re not seeking their approval. 


  1. What is a time where the fear of man has influenced your decision making? 
  2. What does it look like to fear the Lord in your life?  
  3. Are there any other Proverbs in this chapter that resonates with you the most? Why?

Watch This

Check out this short video from The Gospel Coalition about what the fear of man is and why it’s so dangerous.

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2 thoughts on “Proverbs 29”

  1. In my life fearing the Lord looks like this:
    -recognizing his sovereignty
    -desiring Him and his approval above all else
    -bring a student of his Word
    -prayerfully seeking his heart
    -inviting him into my daily activities
    -repenting and receiving forgiveness when I mess up
    -abiding and trusting him with my life

  2. Wow, talk about my Achilles heel!

    Years ago, I was on the book launch team for one of my all-time favorite books, “The Cure for the ‘Perfect’ Life: 12 Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver.” Authors Cheri Gregory and Kathi Lipp—women of deep faith and sound wisdom – identified the greatest enemies of braver living as the “P-Bullies”: perfectionism, performancism—and PEOPLE-PLEASING.

    Only last month, I was forced to navigate an extremely difficult decision alongside a team of men and women of deep faith, all humbly and prayerfully seeking God’s direction. However, nothing went as expected. We faced some wholly unexpected consequences and a lot of collateral damage. That single decision led to a series of even more painfully difficult choices. No matter what decision we reached in the end, people I cared about deeply would be disappointed. Hurt. DISPLEASED.

    It. Was. AWFUL. There were a lot of tears and sleepless nights in my house.

    Proverbs 29 highlights the reason this experience was so excruciating: I was consumed with what people would think about me. The bullies had come after me big-time, and their names were People-pleasing, Pride and Control. While I could never make everyone happy with my decision, I was devastated to lose control over what people thought about ME as I made it.

    It’s been a rough month in my “Battle of the Bullies.” Still, I’m learning to “count it as all joy” and give thanks for powerful strategies acquired on the battlefield. I will need them if I would defeat the false gods that try to knock me down and keep me from standing up for God.

    I’ve also come to recognize when I’m busy serving as my own “spin doctor,” I don’t have time to serve God. Far better to serve God fully—and trust him to take care of the “spin.” Why worry how I look in others’ estimation, so long as I do right in the sight of God?

    “If you have the smile of God what does it matter if you have the frown of men?”
    -Leonard Ravenhill

    “Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ!”
    -Galatians 1:10

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