Proverbs 22:4 – Humility and pride are mutually exclusive qualities.

c-s-lewis-quote-humilityThe man God takes pleasure in and rewards is the focus of today’s devotional proverb. Solomon states two qualities God values and rewards: “humility and the fear of the Lord” (22:4).

Proverbs 22:4 – “By humility [gentleness; meekness] and the fear [reverence] of the LORD are riches [spiritual riches], and honor [glory; splendor], and life [living; strong life].”

Humility and pride are mutually exclusive qualities; in fact, genuine humility is the absence of pride.  Society views humility as a sign of weakness; however, it is a strength when borne out of one’s submission and walk with the Lord.  Humility is a Christian grace, a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Rather than weakness, sunset jesus crosshumility is strength that responds to provocation with restraint and gentleness.

The greatest picture of humility and restraint was Jesus hanging on the Cross. He Who is Omnipotent, Sovereign God, “humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). One songwriter wrote of the humility of Christ on the Cross:

“He could have called ten thousand angels

To destroy the world and set Him free

He could have called ten thousand angels

But He died alone, for you and me.”

God not only rewards Humility, He also rewards “the fear of the LORD”. We have noted in earlier devotions “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). It is the “fear of the Lord” that rises within the heart of man and moves him to confess, repent of his sin and be saved.  For Christians, “the fear of the Lord” reveres and honors God Who is Holy and Just.

What are the rewards of humility and the fear of the Lord?

“Riches, and honour, and life” are God’s reward to those who humble themselves and reverence the Lord!  I believe Solomon is inferring spiritual riches, honors and life in the context of our proverb. Some teach a “prosperity gospel”; however, the historical reality is that the reward of the faithful is rarely earthly riches.

The affections of God’s people is not set upon material wealth, but upon eternal rewards (Matthew 6:24; 33-34). To those who humble themselves and fear the Lord, God gives spiritual riches that gold and silver cannot buy–heavenly glory and a life worth living!

Fruit-of-the-Spirit-817x1024I close with a New Testament portrait of a humble Christian who fears the Lord and is rewarded.

Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love [sacrificial love], joy, peace [quietness; harmony in relationships], longsuffering [patience], gentleness [kindness], goodness [virtuous], faith [loyalty; fidelity], 23  Meekness [inward quietness; humility], temperance [self-control; restraint of one’s emotions]: against such there is no law [no law condemns the virtues Paul has listed].”

Are those qualities true of you?