The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.
I. GODLY FEAR. This is godly fear, a fear of wounding the dearest object of the heart. Concerning this fear, it is here said that it "is the instruction of Wisdom."
1. It is the great subject of Wisdom's instruction. Everywhere in nature, in the events of life, and in the holy book of God, does heavenly Wisdom inculcate this godly fear.
2. It is the great end of Wisdom's instruction. Heavenly Wisdom, in all its communications, deals with our souls not merely to enlighten the intellect and refine the tastes, but to fill us with loving fear toward God.
II. GENUINE HUMILITY. "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of Wisdom; and before honour is humility." This is a maxim of very wide application.
1. It is sometimes applicable to secular exaltation. As a rule, the man who rises to affluence and power in the world has had to humble himself. He has stooped to conquer. He has condescended to drudgeries and concessions most wounding to his pride.
2. This always applies to intellectual exaltation. A most humbling sense of one's ignorance is the first step to intellectual eminence, and almost the last.
3. This invariably applies to moral exaltation. "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Parallel VersesKJV: The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.