This verse points out opposite thoughts, feelings and focuses – “fear of man” and “trust in the LORD.”
Fearing men is never a good thing. The Old Testament root for “fear” comes from “shaking” or “trembling.” Living and feeling that way before any human being is just not a comfortable place to find ourselves.
Such fear won’t bring much good into our lives – it will only “prove to be a snare.” This kind of trap in the Bible was both a net to catch in and barbs of a hook to grab hold of. Either way, it’s not for our benefit!
Fear of people is a dead-end. Both life and the Bible make it clear we just can’t afford to go there. And, if we are there, we need to – and can – get out.
On the other hand, “whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” “Safe” comes from the idea of “up high and inaccessible.” God has the power to both lift us up and keep us out of the fray. The great theologian MC Hammer(!) once put it this way, “U Can’t Touch This!”
It’s hard to find two more opposite attitudes (fear man vs. trust God) or results (snare vs. safe). They’re mutually exclusive concepts – you can’t do them both at the same time. In the end, it’s just about focus – people, places and things vs. the LORD.
Why would we ever want to let ourselves get so messed up? It’s an everyday choice, and it’s my choice every day!