4 ¶ By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
Viewing this from our perspective as Christians today, humility is extremely important in order to gain the right attitude.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Ephesians 5:21 ¶ Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
As John Gill puts it, as this verse was understood by the Jews, humility precedes the fear of the Lord. It is by humility that one is able to fear the Lord. If some people ever change their religion it will be because they no longer think they’re God. The Bible defines this kind of fear mentioned in this Proverb as reverence;
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Psalms 33:8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
Without the fear of the Lord, the fear of God, no person even begins to understand who He is or what He is. The fear of the Lord produced obedience to the Law given to Moses in the Hebrew.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
The early church walked in that reverence and awe each day and grew.
Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
And the church is to perform that today as it said back in Ephesians 5:21 mentioned above. Before a person is saved he lacks the fear of God.
Romans 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
I don’t think most Christians today have any sense of reverence or awe of God. God is an ideal, an ideology, rather than a real person, a real entity with whom they have to deal every day. Imagine that you loved baseball. All you thought about was baseball. You want to play but even when you can’t you are pretending you’re at bat making a grand slam home run or fielding a tough hit and saving the game. You even attend a game once a week and watch others play. But, it has no real bearing on your life. It’s a game. Baseball doesn’t comfort you when you are grieving or frightened, nor does it help you comfort others. It doesn’t help you grow spiritually. It doesn’t offer you any hope of a life beyond the one you have on this earth. It’s just a game even if like the fictional character, Chico Escuela, played by comedian Garrett Morris decades ago, you said, “Beisball has been bery, bery good to me”, it is still just a game.
To most Christians, God is just an idea, something they have culturally and personally come to grips with but don’t really believe has a hand in their daily affairs or plans. He represents a political ideal or, as I mentioned earlier, an ideology. They believe that the universe is held together by physical laws and rules or even dark matter or dark energy. They have been told and believe that the events that happen to them are luck, chance, and circumstance. They believe their health is based on genetics, how they exercise, eat, sleep, and what medical care they receive. They think their success or failure is founded on their intelligence, their efforts, and good luck. They go to sleep at night depending on the police, the fire department, and the military to protect them. They plan on taking care of their families by a good life insurance policy and good health insurance policies. In the end, they believe life is good because they’ve made it good or bad because other people are out to get them. Not that all of these things aren’t important, or prudent measures to take, or even true to some extent. But, like the proverbial blind men trying to feel parts of an elephant and told to describe the whole beast, they are missing who is really doing these things and who can take them away at will.
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
By humility and the fear of the Lord we gain spiritual riches, honor with God, and when that fear of the Lord results in trusting in Christ and acknowledging Him as our Saviour, eternal life.