“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” – Proverbs 29:18.
I have often heard the first half of the above verse used by motivational speakers. They use the word “vision” to mean things like goals, ambition, and purpose. Although I agree if a person has no goal, objective, or purpose, their life will end up one of existence instead of meaning. Side note here – a noble goal need not be one that acquires fame or fortune. The noblest of goals are to serve God and raise godly children.
However, using Proverbs 29:18 solely to motivate people to get up off the couch and make something of their lives is missing the target.
What does vision mean here? We will look for the answer elsewhere in scripture.
When Samuel was a young boy God described the nation of Israel this way – “And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision” (1 Samuel 3:1).
By telling us, “there was no open vision” God was explaining that He had not talked to Israel in quite some time. There were no prophets receiving revelations; no angels were coming down telling people what to do. The word of God was precious because it was rare; God had not given anyone any “vision” for a long, long time. Therefore, we can conclude that the “vision” of 1 Samuel 3:1 and Proverbs 29:18 is a direct reference to the Words of God.
More than just goals and purpose, if people do not have the Word of God they perish. In fact, there will be millions of people who accomplish what they wanted in life, but in the end, will perish because the Word of God was absent from their lives.
It takes the Word of God to have faith in God (Romans 10:17) and it takes faith in God to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Many lives filled with noble causes receiving the applause of men will end never spending a day pleasing their Creator.
Whether it be a nation, church, family, or individual when the Word of God is absent, the result is misery and destruction (Romans 3:16-18). The tragic news is that this absence of God’s Word will pass from one generation to another. Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
The general opinion of my parent’s generation of God was that He was someone holy, someone, to be revered. My generation saw God as good, but we only gave Him time when we had time. My children’s generation have the attitude that if people want to worship God, that is fine; if not, that’s okay too, and any god you want to worship is fine. My grandkids generation seem to have the attitude that if God is out there; He never really enters my mind. The next step in the progression would be for a generation to believe that there is no God.
During the transition of my parent’s generation to mine, we kicked the Bible out of schools – rejecting the knowledge of God – and a few generations later our children have forgotten God. What will be the end result? “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
God has sent a famine of the Word to our land; Amos 8:11-12, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.”
The good news is that there are people seeking the Word. As in Samuel’s day, the Word is precious because it is rare.
It is imperative that we start reading and studying the Word as individuals. Then it can grow from us to our families, then to our churches, then on to the nation as a whole.
If you doubt the necessity for people to study the word on an individual basis, all I can do is leave you with the words I started with – Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.preacherjohnson.com. E-book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TUJTV2A If you email, inform me where you have seen Preacher’s Point. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.