Be Not Afraid of their Faces Jer 1:8 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Jer 1:8 says, Be not afraid of their faces. The Lord had a very important job for Jeremiah to do. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet to the nations [Jer 1:5]. He was going to have to stand in front of kings, princes, priests, and people [Jer 1:18] and tell them exactly what God commanded him to say [Jer 1:17]. And the message was going to be 2/3rds negative [Jer 1:10]. As a result, the Lord warned Jeremiah that his audience was going to fight him but he also assured him that if he wouldn’t buckle under fear, they would not prevail against him [Jer 1:19]. The Lord told him, “I am with thee to deliver thee,” [Jer 1:8].
This is one of the most “telling” verses in the Bible when it comes to the subject of fear. This passage explains why people have so much trouble dealing with other people. You are afraid to speak with them face to face.
When you are afraid of their faces:
You’ll excuse yourself – Jer 1:6, “I am a child.” Moses tried this tactic. He said, “I am not eloquent.” What’s so hard about, “I will tell you what to say and then you say it?” He didn’t need eloquence, he needed courage. You will talk yourself out of confronting someone and you will give yourself a convincing enough excuse for getting out of it. And you will never end up dealing with and facing your own fear.
You won’t tell the truth – Jer 1:7, “whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Moses told about half of what the Lord said and added some of his own words to soften the message. Compare Ex 3:18 and Ex 4:22-23 with Ex 5:1 and 5:3. When you are afraid of someone’s face, you just cannot bring yourself to be honest enough to tell them the truth. Notice that Moses got much better about this over time. And you will, too.
You’ll tell someone else – Jer 1:17, “speak unto them.” You’ll tell a friend or a spouse, you’ll talk behind their back, you’ll post it on the internet. All of these are signs of cowardice. You need to tell “him” to his face and leave everybody else out of it. See Prov 25:9 and Matt 18:15.
You’ll be confounded – Jer 1:17, “lest I confound thee before them.” You’ll be so nervous that you won’t be able to think straight. You will be confused. Confrontation is emotional and when your emotions take over you get angry. And when you get angry then you are even more afraid that you might say or do something that you will regret. Then your perception is all messed up.
You’ll be intimidated – Jer 1:19, “they shall not prevail against thee.” When you are afraid, they intimidate you into a paralyzing fear of inaction, or into a fear of over reaction. Either way they have prevailed against you because they “own” you. Fear is a way to keep you from standing against them because of what you think you have to lose. Every time you put off dealing with your fear because you are intimidated you will be controlled by the other person and you won’t like it or them. So gird up your loins and quit letting this intimidation control you.
The way to get over the fear of their faces is to:
Quit worrying about what others think – Jer 1:8, “be not afraid of their faces.” You aren’t trying to win a popularity contest. They will try to ridicule you just like they did Jesus. You cannot let the fear of ridicule cause you to flinch. When you tell the truth and you have done your best, there is no reason to lose any sleep over how they react. Forget about it and go on to the next thing.
Remember that God is with you – Jer 1:8, “I am with thee.” Be sure that God is pleased. He’s the friend that you need to keep. When you are just worried about pleasing others you won’t be pleasing God. We often forget to pray when we are in a bad situation. Many of us try to mediate the temperament of the other person and so we forget that the Lord is with us. Think about him before you concern yourself with the other person. And make sure that you are being totally honest with the Lord. That way he can protect you and you won’t have anything to worry about.
Stand on the truth of the words of God – Jer 1:9, “I have put my words in thy mouth.” Listen, when your actions and responses are all founded on the word of God it doesn’t make any difference who likes it and who doesn’t. You are right and that’s all there is to it. Daily reading of Proverbs helps immensely because the words of God will speak to you and remind you how to deal with people under all circumstances. If you aren’t standing on the sure foundation of the words of God, then you are standing on a foundation of sand that will give way under your feet. Stand on the rock and you will be fine.