Proverbs 20:2 Dissected & Defined
The fear (painful passion of expectant evil) of a king (leader) is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh (a call to action) him to anger sinneth (wrongs) against his own soul (mind, will, and emotions).
The word “fear” can mean two things. Good fear generates respect. Bad fear creates passions from the expectation of evil. To fear the Lord is to respect what God could do to you or for you. The “fear of man” is to be scared of a man (gender neutral term for man or woman).
The fear of Proverbs 20:2 is a nervous fear. It is a fear that is generated by a wrong action that produces a dangerous reaction.
He likens this fear to the fear of a king. Today, a king would be a governmental leader. The truth actually applies to anyone who has leadership or control over someone.
The Fear of a Leader
Solomon tells us that when we make bad decisions, we can make our leadership irate. When we do this we do our soul wrong.
When we see the leader roar, it damages the follower. I have seen leaders explode. As a leader, I have exploded. In all cases, the persons who are on the receiving end of the explosion experience severe damage. For the leaders, improper reaction to our failed action will surely harm the way we “think, want, or feel” about that leader. When we provoke leadership, we harm our soul’s opinion of the leader. It is very difficult to follow a leader with whom the soul finds fault.
But as a leader that is also under leadership, may I explain the underlying meaning of this proverb? For it may help the leaders as much as the led to realize this truth.
The fear of a leader is a double-edged fear. The action that produces the feared reaction is also a feared action! That is to say, you may fear the way your leader reacts, but your leader fears the way you act.
We are all capable of harming our leaders. This potential harm generates angst for a leader. When we make mistakes, the leader’s fears are realized. His improper response then produces fear within the follower.