This verse is so succinct in length but so rich in content. It sums up why so many people are in utter bondage. They are worried about what others will say or think about them. It is fearing man, and it is one of the "prison guards" that keeps watch over a vast number of people.
Fearing what others think isn't relegated only to teenagers and school children. Unfortunately this bondage knows no age limits. Adults struggle with fears of offending others, hurting their feelings, etc. We don't want people to think we are "strange," "weird," etc. These fears and worries make us walk around on eggshells.
Now, I am not advocating that Christians offend others for the sake of offense. Paul said that as much as depends upon us, we should try to live in peace with all men. (Romans 12:18) Nevertheless, we must never be enslaved to the opinions of others. Living and striving for the approval of man will bring us into real bondage.
As long as God is pleased with our lives, that is all that matters. We cannot serve God and the opinion of man. Paul, in Galatians 1:10, said that if he sought to please man, he would not be a servant of Christ.
By God's grace, I have grown in this area. I used to struggle with this issue, and the older I get, the less I worry about others liking me or pleasing them. Again, we are not to set out to be obnoxious or offensive. However, we must not let ourselves be enslaved by the opinions of others.
Consider just a sampling of texts from Scripture that speak to the idea of not being afraid. (These are summations of these texts.)
Genesis 26:24 - God told Isaac not to fear because God was with Isaac.
Exodus 14:13 - God told Moses and the Israelites not to fear because He was with them and would save them.
Joshua 10:8 - God told Joshua not to fear his enemy because God had already given them into his hand.
1 Chronicles 28:20 - David told Solomon not to fear because God was with him.
2 Chronicles 20:15, 17 - Jahaziel told the King and Israelites not to fear because the battle was God's. He would fight for the people.
Psalm 27:1-2 - Because God was David's light, salvation, and defense, he had no need to fear man.
Psalm 118:6-9 - The Psalmist had no need to fear man because God was for him. Trusting in God was his only hope. Trusting in man or princes (modern day ruler or people of influence) is futile.
Isaiah 41:10 - God, through Isaiah, says that He will be with the people. Therefore, they are not to fear or be dismayed. God promised to strengthen them.
Isaiah 43:5 - God reiterated the promise about being with the people, so there was no need to fear.
Isaiah 51:7 - God told the people, those who knew His righteousness and law, not to fear man or be terrified by any of their threats or insults.
1 Peter 3:13-14 - Peter told the people there was no need to fear if they suffered for doing good. They would be counted as blessed. He then quoted the Old Testament about not fearing man's attempts to intimidate or cause trouble.
Hebrews 13:6 - The writer of Hebrews stated that God promised to be with His people. They should therefore be content and have no fear of man.
These passages are more than crystal clear. There are others in Scripture that state this glorious, liberating truth. Because God is with us and for us, we have absolutely no reason to fear man. I will close with the words of Jesus from Matthew 10 where Jesus was encouraging His disciples not to think it strange when they were persecuted and maligned for being like Him, their Master and Teacher.
Matthew 10:25-31 - Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
May our fear, reverence, and allegiance be to God and God alone. Only then will we be truly free! If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31)
soli Deo gloria