This is a continuation of my previous blogs regarding the above mentioned book recommended at our last Synod, by our Canon Theologian Henry Jansma. Check out the previous blogs for my overview and reviews of Parts 1 and 3 of the book. This review is going to cover “Part 2” titled “Special Dangers to Young Men.” Sorry that it is out of order. Again, I will be taking just a small selection of quotes from the book, but there is SO much more to read and as I have said before, the book is good for not just the young and not just men.
Another danger to young men is the fear of man's opinion. ... Like dead fish, they go with the stream and tide; what others think right, they think right; and what others call wrong, they call wrong too. Page 33
Let’s look at four Biblical examples of men that in fear of what other men thought made bad choices. Samuel told Saul that when they attacked the Amalekites that they were devote to destruction the people and their things. You might think this is harsh, but the thing to keep in mind is whether we think we know better than God. Saul thought that he was doing the right thing, because they kept the best of what was captured and planned to sacrifice it to God. God did not ask them to sacrifice the best of the spoils. So now let's turn to what Saul says.
1 Samuel 15:24 (ESV) Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. In Jeremiah, chapter 38, the prophet told King Zedekiah that he needed to surrender. If he did so, his life would be spared and the city would not be burned.
Jeremiah 38:19 (ESV) King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, lest I be handed over to them and they deal cruelly with me.”
So Jeremiah tries to convince him to do otherwise. He describes what will happen to the wives and sons. The king then tells Jeremiah to tell no one of their conversations. He later tried to escape, but was caught and had his eyes put out. If only he had listened to Jeremiah.
In Matthew 14, it says that King Herod has John the Baptists in prison. At his birthday party, the daughter of Herodias, his niece danced at the party and SO pleased him that he offered her anything. She asked for John the Baptist to be executed. Herod did not want to do and yet felt that he could not go back on his word and so had John executed.
Matthew 14:9 (ESV) And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given.
Finally we look at Pilate, Jesus is brought before him and Pilate finds nothing wrong with him. The people on the other hand seem to be on the verge of rioting. They keep calling for him to be crucified. Pilate's job as the Governor of Judea is to keep the peace. So he is feeling the pressure. His wife even tried to warn him.
Matthew 27:19 (ESV) Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.”
Everyone of these examples are men in power. You would have thought that they strong characters in order to be made kings or governors, but they all failed in that regard. We likewise might make poor choices and need to remember that it is better what God thinks of us than what man thinks.