There’s a significant difference between fearing people and fearing the Lord. It becomes evident when we replace the word “fearing” with the word “respecting”. Respecting people is certainly not a dangerous trap, however, fearing them is.
On the other hand, fearing and respecting the Lord appears to be almost synonymous, reason being, fearing the Lord always includes self-respect while fearing people does not. If we fear people, we duck. We tend to think little of ourselves and too much of the person we fear.
On that note, Jesus remarked that people’s power is limited while God’s power is limitless. Sending out the twelve apostles, His famous parting words were (Matthew 10:16-17+28):
“I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of people, because they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues.” (…) “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Let’s keep that in mind if we happen to run into a “David-meets-Goliath” situation today!