The Book of Proverbs ~ Chapter 22:4-5 ~ Humility Leads to a Good Relationship with the Lord and Blessings in Our Lives. ~ The Guardianship of Your Soul Through Humility.

Vol. 17, No. 43 – October 28, 2018

43 - 10 28 18 Pro 22 vs 4-5 - Humility Leads to a Good Relationship with the Lord, and Blessings in Our Lives. The Guardianship of Your Soul Through Humility - The WordThe Book of Proverbs
Chapter 22

In vs. 1, we are exhorted to have a good reputation; in vs. 2, to have good community relationships; in vs. 3, to have good avoidance of evil; and now in vs. 4, to have a good relationship with the Lord.

Vs. 4

Prov 22:4, “The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD, are riches, honor and life.”

The theme of human accountability binds vs. 3 and 4 together as a proverb pair. The first half of this verse offers the remedy for the naïve / foolish to become prudent. The second half tells of the benefits or “wages” the prudent then gains. It moves us from avoiding a terrible fine to gaining an immense wage that is better than silver and gold.

From the Hebrew this passage literally reads, “The reward of humility, the fear of the LORD, riches and honor and life.”

Commentators view this verse in at least two ways:

The first is:  [(                A                 )   +   (              B                 )]  =   (               C               )

Prov 22:4, “The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD, are riches, honor and life.”

In this scenario, which is the one we prescribe to, the “reward of humility” plus “the fear of the Lord,” equals the blessings of “riches and honor and life.”

The 2nd is:    (                 A                 )    =    [(               B                  ) + (  C  ) + (  D  )  +  ( E )]

Prov 22:4, “The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD, are riches, honor and life.”

In the second scenario, some, like Keil and Delitzsch, interpret this verse as asyndeton, leaving out the conjunction “and” between “humility” and “fear” for poetical purposes. Therefore, the reward for having humility of the soul is fourfold. The four rewards are: 1) fear of the Lord, 2) riches, 3) honor, and 4) life. As such, the “reward of humility” results in the blessings of “the fear of the Lord,” and “riches,” and “honor,” and “life.” In this reading the verse would say, “The reward of humility is the fear of the LORD, and riches, and honor, and life.”

Nevertheless, in the Hebrew, the “and” or WA is actually found twice; once between “riches” and “honor,” and then between “honor” and “life.” Yet, it is not found between “the fear of the Lord,” and “riches,” which leads to the first interpretation above, as the NASB, KJV, NIV, ASV, ESV and others translate it. This is also in agreement with the understanding that to have humility, we must have the fear of the Lord in our lives. When we do, it leads to God’s grace blessings being in our lives.

As the Proverbs tell us, whoever finds wisdom finds the fear of the Lord, Prov 1:29; 2:5 and gains life, Prov 3:18, 22; 4:13; 8:35; 9:6. This tells us that to truly have the “fear of Lord,” we must to have His Word in our soul. If you do not know Him, you cannot fear or respect Him.

Now, humility is the willingness to be subject to another. In this verse, God and His Word are the beginning of the process. As such, “humility and the fear of the Lord” go together in this passage, and their reward is “riches, and honor, and life.”

The reward” is the Noun EQEB עֵקֶב that means, “cause or end result.” It is derived from a word that means “heel or hoof” and figuratively carries that meaning of “the end of something.” Several times, as in our passage, it carries the idea of an end result that means, “reward.” Cf. Psa 19:11.

Psa 19:9-11, “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. 10They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. 11Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

As we noted above, having “humility,” ANAWAH, עֲָנָוה, and the “fear of the Lord,” YIR’AH YAHWEH, (which we studied the doctrine of in Eph 5:21), has the reward or blessing of having “riches,” OSHER, “honor,” KABOD, (glory, honor, weightiness of reputation, wealth, majesty), and “life,” HAYYIM. These three blessings pertain to having a good reputation in vs. 1.

Humility is the quality or condition of being humble, a lack of pride, modesty, and/or respectfulness towards others. It means, to subordinate oneself to God, and to give honor to Him alone. To do so, you have to break your self-will, and come to the knowledge of yourself as in His dependence with helplessness and sin on your part.

The failure of the naïve to spot danger, vs. 3, comes from their arrogant refusal to submit to God, vs. 4. The inevitable outcome of pride and arrogance is disaster, Prov 11:2; 16:18-19; 18:12; 29:1, 23, whereas a humble, obedient attitude reaps rewards, Prov 15:33, (that also links the fear of the Lord with honor and humility).

Prov 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.”

Prov 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.”

Prov 16:19, “It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

Prov 18:12, “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor.”

Prov 29:23, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.”

Prov 15:33, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.”

The “fear of YAHWEH,” is synonymous with the worship of Him, and humility means to obey Him in the application of His Word in your life. Therefore, when we worship God through the intake of His Word and then apply it in our lives, we will receive blessing from Him including high honor and praise, not only from Him but also from those around us. These rewards are combined elsewhere, Prov 3:16; 8:18; 21:21.

Prov 21:21, “He who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness, and honor.”

Notice that these blessings or riches are not materialistic or monetary, but are having the “life,” i.e., the Christ-like nature of walking in “righteousness,” that results in your glorification; being “honored” by God and man.

Prov 3:16, “Long life is in her (i.e., Wisdoms / Bible Doctrines) right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.”

Prov 8:18, “Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness.”

The need for humility begins this book, cf. Prov 1:7; 3:5f, since only the humble respond wisely to teaching and correction, Prov 9:7-12. Therefore, we are exhorted to put on humility in the fear of the Lord and learn His Word for application in our lives, because a humble, obedient attitude reaps rewards, Prov 15:33.

Prov 15:33, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.”

Yet, if we do not humble ourselves, the inevitable outcome will be pride and arrogance that results in disaster, Prov 16:18; 29:1.

The person who walks humbly before God, will find honor among people, as the “fear of the Lord” is linked with “honor and humility” in 1 Kings 3:12-14; Isa 66:2; Luke 14:11; 18:14; James 4:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:5-6.

In 1 Kings 3:12-14, after Solomon’s request for an obedient heart in 1 Kings 3:9

1 Kings 3:9, “So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”

… the Lord promised him wealth and honor, but made a condition for prolonging his days on his continued humble obedience to God’s Word, cf. Prov 3:2. The condition was humility with the fear of the Lord.

1 Kings 3:14, “If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.”

Prov 3:1-2, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; 2For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”

Luke 14:11, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (honored).”

James 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

1 Peter 5:5-6, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE (Prov 3:34). 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.”

What does it mean to have a humble attitude? (From Mattoon’s Treasures from Proverbs, Volume 1).

1. Humility involves Acceptance:

First of all, humility is the acceptance of your place appointed by God, whether in the front or in the rear, whether you are in a big ministry or small one. The psalmist was thrilled to be a door keeper in the house of the Lord. Notice what Paul said in Phil 4:11.

Phil 4:11, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”

2. Humility involves Acknowledgment:

Secondly, true humility does not convince oneself that you are worthless, but recognizes God’s working in your life. The attitude that says, “I am no good. I cannot do anything for God,” is not humility, but an excuse for laziness. You do what you want to do. Yet, if you have a desire to serve Christ, you will find a way to serve Him and do the best you can.

Phil 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”

3. Humility involves Abiding:

Thirdly, true humility revels or abides in God’s grace instead of your own accomplishments and abilities. Humility causes you to see yourself from God’s viewpoint and acknowledges God’s grace and work in your life despite the fact you are a sinner and have faults and weaknesses. Humility gives you an accurate view of yourself.

1 Cor 15:9-10, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”

Did you know that the smaller you become, the more room God has to work in your life? D.L. Moody said, “God will send no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.” This is one reason why people get critical, cranky, and selfish… they are full of themselves. Pride fills you with selfishness and an inaccurate assessment of yourself. We are cautioned about pride and its inaccurate assessments of ourselves.

Rom 12:3, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

Obadiah 1:4, “Though you build high like the eagle, though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the LORD.”

4. Humility involves Assessment:

A fourth principle on humility is this… “Do you have humility?” Realize God will test your humility and whether you have a servant’s heart. A true test of servanthood is if I act like one when I am treated like one. The humble person remains the same person in all circumstances whether he is put down or exalted, humiliated or honored. If a person has a humble servant’s heart, there will be no limit to what he can accomplish if he is unconcerned with who gets the credit. D.L. Moody said, “A man can counterfeit many graces and character traits, but it is difficult to counterfeit humility.” One man tried to counterfeit his humility when he said, “Only my great humility keeps me from telling you how truly wonderful I am.”

As you scan the Scriptures, you find David has a humble heart of a servant.

Psa 131:1-2, “O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. 2Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.”

David was content with God’s leading in his life. Pride will overvalue self and undervalue others. Humility motivates one to love and serve others. Pleasing the Lord and giving glory to God is a priority of the person with a humble attitude.

5. Humility gives you friendliness and peaceful relations, (Amity), while leaving you Anchored:

A fifth principle about humility is pride and selfishness will leave you miserable and dissatisfied. Humility leaves a person stable, secure, at peace, and contented. You do not have to try to prove yourself or pretend to be something you are not when you have humility because you are not seeking fame. This truth will change glory seekers and crowd pleasers. You do not have to be a slave to others’ expectations anymore. This leaves you free from worry and frustration that are linked with trying to impress people. You can be yourself and concentrate on doing your best and reaching whatever goals you have for your life. And, when you have true humility, you will also reap, “riches, honor and life.”

Vs. 5

Prov 22:5, “Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards himself will be far from them.”

In contrast to vs. 4, the first half speaks of the way of the “perverse,” ‘IQQESH, עִקֵּשׁ that means, “perverse, crooked, or distorted” acts of sinful men. We have noted this word in Prov 2:15; 8:8; 11:20; 17:20; 19:1, and will see it again in Prov 28:6.

Prov 11:20, “The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, but the blameless in their walk are His delight.” 

Prov 17:20, “He who has a crooked mind finds no good, and he who is perverted in his language falls into evil.”

Prov 28:6, “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than he who is crooked though he be rich.”

As a result of having a lack of humility and therefore being spiritually and morally corrupt, there will be “thorns,” TSEN, צֵן and “snares,” PACH, פַּח in the life of the sinner. TSEN is only used here and in Job 5:5; Amos 4:2. PACH is used 25 times in the OT.

Both of these words are used figuratively for undesirable places or locations that one can enter into, including undesirable thoughts and sins; for the sharp hooks used to lead away prisoners, in this case prisoners of sin and Satan’s cosmic system; and for the surprise trappings that others lay for you to enter into sin.

Prov 5:22, “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin.” 

Prov 29:6, “By transgression an evil man is ensnared, but the righteous sings and rejoices.”

Yet, in support of the “prudent” in vs. 4, the second half of this verse says, “He who guards himself will be far from them,” that tells us of the trouble we can avoid by guarding our hearts, Prov 4:23, by having genuine humility with our soul.

Prov 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Guards” is the familiar word SHAMAR that means, “to observe, guard, keep, or protect.” This tells us of the responsibility of guardianship the believer has over “himself,” NEPHESH, נֶפֶשׁ, that means, “soul or life.” This guardianship comes from making good decisions from a place of strength and power called the Word of God. Without God’s Word in your soul, you would not be able to truly protect your soul as you should. There is some basic or minor protection that comes to all of mankind by abiding by God’s Divine establishment principles, but complete guardianship over our souls, over our lives, can be accomplished when we learn and apply God’s Word in humility.

Those who practice perversion, deceit, crookedness, i.e., sin, are blinded by their own way of thinking and so cannot avoid either the troubles of life or the problems created by others. Yet, with the Word of God resident within your soul by having genuine humility to learn and apply it, you can avoid or be “far from” or “separated from” RACHAQ, רָחַק‎, the thorns and snares of life inside of Satan’s cosmic system that will lead to you sinning and/or keep you in sin as well.

This verse also reinforces vs. 3, as well as its parallel in Prov 27:12, by exhorting us to apply humility in our lives so that we have the wisdom of God’s Word to see sin and its dangers, and then avoid them, cf. Prov 14:16; 15:19; 16:17.

Prov 14:16, “A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless.”

So, we see that those who live in sin are trapped or gripped by it. It makes no difference who the person is or what he does. A man can be a king, yet a slave to his own sin. On the other hand, a slave can be free because he has sought Christ’s forgiveness and lives a godly life.

Therefore, through the intake and application of God’s Word, by means of humility within your soul, you have the prudence necessary, the wisdom necessary, the protection necessary, the armor necessary, Eph 6:13-18, to avoid the snares and thorns of sin inside of Satan’s cosmic system.

Remember that Humility:

  • Is recognition and respect for legitimate authority in life.
  • It is function under the Laws of Divine Establishment for both the believer and the unbeliever.
  • It is recognition of authority delegated by God in the Christian way of life. The Bible is the authority, and the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher is the communicator of that doctrine.
  • It is recognition of the authority of the Pastor-teacher to teach and communicate God’s Word to you.
  • It is recognition of the authority of the content of the message taught by the Pastor who communicates doctrine.
  • It is teachability which recognizes the Plan of God for your life.
  • It is Divine viewpoint thinking, which means that humility is related to grace orientation and occupation with Christ.
  • It is poise and courage when you are under pressure.
  • It is capacity for life, love, and happiness.
  • It is the basis for gratitude and appreciation in life.
  • It is the function of establishing right priorities in life.
  • It is the right function of self-determination and self-discipline in life related to God’s grace policy, right priorities, teachability, and self-determination related to spiritual growth.
  • It is making right decisions from a position of strength.
  • It is the recognition of failure in the Christian life and the willingness to recover through Rebound, 1 John 1:9.
  • It is the basis for flexibility in life, the basis for God molding a vessel of honor which glorifies Him.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
# 18-113 – 18-114

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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.

Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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