To fear the Lord and thus avoid the pride that goes before a fall is to respect, reverence, and submit to Him in every area of life. When we fear the Lord, we acknowledge our desperate need for God because He is infinitely wiser than we are: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil” (Proverbs 3:7).
Terms like destruction, fall, disaster, ruin, and downfall in these passages can be understood as a punishment or discipline meted out to the proud in order to humble them and correct their waywardness. The word fall translates from a verb meaning “stumble” or “stagger.” Pride, unchecked, leads to destruction; the purpose of Scripture’s warnings is to put the proud sinner back on a path that leads to honor and life. For this reason, the maxims repeatedly inform, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). And again, “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor” (Proverbs 29:23, NLT).