September 20

The Humble are Teachable and Honored with Grace

“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33)

I live among many elderly folks who are growing older with grace and contentment. One of the facts they have accepted, and we must face is that after the age of about 80 (younger for some), we will probably begin to forget appointments, people’s names, what happened yesterday, and many other things. With old age also comes trouble finding the words to express our thoughts. Not everyone experiences these symptoms, but many do. Repetition is part of day-to-day living and is part of God’s design, in nature, and in his Word. I had a distant memory of using Proverbs 15:33 previously in my devotions and found the citing on May 4th.  I closed the devotion on the power of God’s Word with this question: “Will you humble yourself today to hear instruction and reproof to grow in wisdom?”

In Proverbs 15:33, we learn that there is a direct connection between the fear of the Lord and instruction, which results in wisdom. There is also a connection between that wisdom and humility. In a nutshell, fearing God by receiving his teaching from his Word makes us wise and humble—and this comes before honor. Matthew Henry says this about 15:33, “The fear of the Lord will dispose us to search the Scriptures with reverence; and it will cause us to follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit. While we humbly place all our dependence on the grace of God, we are exalted in the righteousness of Christ.” (1) “The great virtue that [Proverbs] seeks to instill is teachability, the willingness to grow in wisdom no matter how far along a person already is.” (2)

The unbelieving world thinks of honor as the attainment of a high position, a special award, or winning the lottery, a sports event, or a contest. However, Christians are informed by Scripture that the highest honor is knowing Jesus Christ and his grace. As Jesus was exalted to a place of honor in glory, so we will also be honored when we are raised to glory with him. In the meantime, our privilege is to have God as our true Father, who cares for us. “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” (Isaiah 57:15)

How teachable are you, on a scale of 1-10? Are you willing to believe that you have much to learn about fearing the Lord, life with Christ, and even about being teachable and humble? Or are you looking for honor without the learning? The devil tempted Jesus to gain honor by avoiding the cross. “And Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”’” (Luke 4:12) How do you test God rather than humble yourself by being teachable?

(1) Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, 15:33

(2) ESV Study Bible Notes (digital edition), Crossway, 2008, (Note on Proverbs 1:5)

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