Before Honor is Humility
1. This is the third proverb in a row that deals with the subject of wisdom.
2. Each approach the subject from a slightly different angle.
a. Vs. 31 – a hearing ear = wisdom
b. Vs. 32 – refusing reproof = the opposite of wisdom
c. Vs. 33 – reverence and humility = wisdom
3. Vs. 33 – The people who fear God are the same people who receive the instruction of wisdom.
a. Psalm 25:12 – God only teaches those who fear Him. (Cf. vs. 4-5, 8-9, 14)
b. Fearing God implies putting self in its place… bowed down before Him as Lord! Allowing God to be GOD in your life.
c. Fearing = respect for who God is… reverence before Him…
d. Fearing God acknowledges our nothingness… and Him as the Almighty One.
4. In this context, the fear of God which results in instruction from God is somehow related to humility before God which results in honor.
a. These two concepts are linked together also in Proverbs 22:4 – fear and humility… and the resultant blessing from God.
b. Before instruction comes fear.
c. Before honor comes humility.
d. Both parts of the proverb speak of prerequisites for the believer.
• If you want God to teach you—then bow in reverence before Him!
• If you want God to honor your life—then bow in humility before Him!
• God will have nothing to do with the proud and the irreverent.
• Fear and humility are used almost as synonyms.
Those who seek for honor shall be dishonored
1. The opposite of humility is PRIDE… arrogance.
a. Pride is one of the sins God especially hates. (Prov. 6:16-17)
b. Pride was that sin which first filled Lucifer…
c. Pride is at the heart of all sin… a love for self above God. A spirit of independence from God.
d. It is exalting self above God and others… exalting self will, our own thoughts, our own ways, our own ideas,
B. Shall Be Abased
1. Prov. 16:18 – pride precedes a fall…
2. Prov. 18:12 – pride brings destruction…
3. Prov. 29:23 – pride brings a man low…
4. Luke 14:8-11 – the humble are honored; the proud are abased
5. I Peter 5:5 – God resists the proud.
6. Those who proudly seek for personal honor shall be dishonored…
Those who seek for humility shall be honored
1. The believer is to be clothed with humility 1 Pet. 5:5.
a. Our person is to be characterized by humility.
b. As clothing COVERS the body… humility and lowliness are to cover self.
c. Be clothed! This is a command. It is our responsibility to put on this kind of clothing!
2. The believer is to walk in humility. Eph 4:1, 2
a. Our walk is to be one of lowliness, meekness, and humility.
b. This too is a command.
c. Humility and meekness are to characterize our whole lives.
d. Wherever we walk, it should be in humility.
3. Beware of false humility: Col 2:18, 23.
a. The cult in Colossae had become experts at LOOKING humble.
b. Cults today also attempt to LOOK humble… by wearing old fashioned clothing… looking to be poor…
c. Jesus rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees for trying to APPEAR to be humble and holy… but they did it to be seen of men!
d. We can do the same. It is hypocrisy when we put others first… in order to be SEEN putting others first!
e. That is PRIDE wrapping oneself in a false humility.
f. There is no honor in putting others first… or other expressions of humility… if the motive is wrong!
g. Phony humility is pride… of the worst sort!
h. We might be able to fool other men, but God can tell the difference between genuine and phony humility.
B. Shall be Honored
1. True humility is HONORED by God.
a. God delights in honoring the humble.
b. Matt. 18:4 – whosoever shall humble himself as a little child shall be called the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
2. Honor: glory; honor; reputation; abundance; wealth; reward.
a. This is the term in Gen. 45:13 when Joseph sent his brothers to tell his father of all his “glory” in Egypt. (which included position, power, and wealth).
b. Joseph was humbled by men… and rather than fighting against it, he submitted to it, recognizing that God was sovereign.
c. In time, God lifted him up and gave him honor!
3. Prov. 18:12 – before honor is humility.
4. Isa. 66:2 – God looks to the man who bows before Him in humility and fear.
a. Looks: regard; show regard to; pay attention to; consider; to gaze intensely.
b. God cannot stand to behold proud flesh, but He gazes intensely upon the humble.
c. This is just what Proverbs 15:33 says!
5. Cf. Isa. 57:15 – God DWELLS with the humble…
a. What greater honor could there be than to have the Creator of the universe pay attention to us!?
b. What greater honor than to have the One who dwells upon high dwell with us who are but dust?
6. This principle is demonstrated in the life of Christ.
a. The principle: first comes humility, then comes honor!
b. Phil. 2:5-11 – First came His period of humiliation—incarnation to the mortal state. Then came glory and honor!
• This glory and honor to come enabled Him to continue to endure suffering and humiliation on earth.
• This is our example in running the race!
c. Luke 24:26 – Christ is our example of this truth: first comes humility, then honor!
• First the cross, and then the crown.
• The same principle holds for those who follow Christ.
• A life of humility on earth followed by exaltation in glory!
d. Paul too followed the example of Christ in this.
• II Cor. 12:7-9 – God HONORED Paul greatly. He was caught up to the third heaven.
• This honor could easily have tempted him to PRIDE.
• LEST Paul should be exalted… (to keep him humble), God sent a thorn in the flesh. We all have one… or maybe several!
• He was HUMBLED by a thorn in the flesh. Some sort of trial or ailment kept Paul humble.
• Thus, God kept Paul humble that Paul might continue to be useful in God’s service.
• After a lifetime of faithful service, Paul will be exalted and receive a WELL DONE.
• But in order to receive that kind of honor at the Bema, God had to humble Paul on earth.
• God does that in our lives too. It is His mercy that does so.
7. Practical examples for life on earth.
a. Luke 18:14 – God exalted the humble publican… and abased the proud Pharisee.
b. Jas. 4:10 – humble yourself before God and He will lift you up!
c. Put this principle in the light of the context:
• Solomon has been speaking about the reproof (vs.31) and admonition (vs.32).
• The person who is HUMBLE enough to listen to reproof abides among the wise. He is honored.
• The person who is proud arrogantly refuses admonition (vs.32) will be abased.
• Humility will bring a person to honor when he humbles himself and listens to rebuke, admonition, and reproof.
• The proud fool will face a fall… destruction.
• But the humble wise man will see honor… and add to his wisdom. God will lift him up.