Change! We need change! There is the byword of our society lately. Yet, there are some things that do not change, and should not be subject to quick changes. What is fascinating to me is the two areas where this is mentioned.
Fear the Lord - that I can understand. At least in the context of change. Those who think that they can do better with God - who think that they know better than His Word are not wise people. An example are those who think that God should change His views on morals to parallel those of a changing society. They are given to change, and do so every time the society decides to loosen their morals beyond what is written in the Word. As it says in verse 22 - their calamity is going to come - it will rise suddenly. And the ruin that comes from such "change" is massive. With God's Word that is easy to see. But that is not where this passage stops.
Fear the king . . . that is the second part of this statement made by the wise man. Government? We should fear the government? That is what God's Word tells us. But we need to remember what kind of government they had. Their king was to spend time writing out a personal copy of God's Word so that he would be careful not to overstep what it said. But before we make this statement only apply to a biblical theocracy, we need to remember that Paul urged first century Christians to submit to the government of Rome - or to any under which they lived. We are to pray for those in authority so that we can live peaceful lives in all godliness.
Stability in government is actually a good thing. As long as we can live within it for Christ - we should be grateful for whatever form of government we have. The people describes as the ones given to change are those who are desirous of changing the government - which in that day meant an overthrow or a revolution. Hang around with these people long enough - and both you and they will find yourselves at odds with the king.
An interesting historical parallel to this is the French Revolution. There were those who were given to change - and who decided to overthrow the monarchy. These revolutionaries soon decided to overthrow one another. Before long - blood ran in the streets as one faction turned on another. The end of all this was the dictatorship of Napoleon and the wars that ensued. France was in shambles due to it all. Associating with those "given to change" led to many being beheaded . . . yep, sounds like calamity to me.
The best thing is to fear God - and fear the ones in government to whom He has placed the sword of its power. Romans tells us as much. Historically, being a Christian has rarely meant working for government change. I know in the United States such statements are foreign to us, but biblically the focus of God's people has been building a kingdom that cannot be seen - one that will last forever. So, follow the counsel of Scripture . . . fear God and the king. Work in your life to live under both - but ultimately with a view to standing before the Lord, Who ultimately is the One Who governs our lives.