Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. - Prov. 29:18
I love this verse!
And why shouldn’t I? All leaders love this verse because it’s about vision!
Proverbs 29 verse 18 has been used to justify and launch an endless array of leadership initiatives…some God inspired and kingdom focused, and many…well, not so much.
Vision is a word that has become so common it almost has to be redefined, or reclaimed, to be understood in its biblical setting. It’s actually pretty simple…the biblical idea of vision was simply some kind of visual revelation from God. The operative phrase being, “from God.” When the biblical writers speak of vision they are referring to God showing up and making His will known. In fact, dark times were sometimes described as seasons where there was no vision from the Lord (See Lamentations 2:9).
The people of God have always sought the vision of the Lord. It meant that God was on the move! He would be bringing about His purposes and He wanted His people to play a part! Note how Peter quotes the prophet Joel in his sermon on the day of Pentecost:
“ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” - Acts 2:17
Vision is God revealing His purpose and inviting us to join Him! Who wouldn’t be excited?
Of course, hearing from God is no small matter and is never to be taken lightly. Ironically, the key to understanding Proverbs 29:18 is the part that’s always left out…”But blessed is he who keeps the law.” A vision from God is the law, because He’s…well, God! To not follow the vision that God has given is considered an act of disobedience and even rebellion. That’s what the verse means when it says the people “cast off restraint” or the more familiar King James rendering of “the people perish!” Those who disregard the vision and word of the Lord always come under judgment
Are you sure you want vision?
It’s worth noting that this verse is preceded and followed by verses that speak of discipline. Vision is always a part of God’s leadership and discipline, or discipleship, of His people, because it is the revelation of Father’s purpose and calling to those who are His. There are some ways in which God’s vision is general, for all His people. Yet there are other aspects of His vision that are very local and even personal.
So…what vision has God given you?
What is God’s assignment for you, your family, your Christian community?
As you pray and open your eyes, what do you see? What breaks your heart, because you believe it breaks God’s heart? What makes you sing and celebrate because you feel God’s joy? What keeps you awake at night? What do you think about when you’re alone in the car?
The warning of Proverbs 29:18 is that without God’s vision my life becomes “unrestrained”…think void of divine purpose and meaning. We live in a culture where it is far too easy for our life to become dissipated in the pursuit of self-interest. We all have a voice inside that calls us to live for something bigger than ourselves. That voice is the voice of God Himself and vision is His invitation to break free and make your life count for eternity!
What’s your vision and what are you going to do about it?=