Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
When it comes to the subject of vision, this has to be the most incompletely over quoted verse of scripture in the Bible. What I mean by “incompletely over quoted” is that the first section is included in books and blogs and in sermons of the leadership genre in a ubiquitous manner – but for some reason it always is to the exclusion of the latter part. . . “but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” This is “cherry picking” at its finest! Go on and use the parts we do like, but conveniently leave out the parts that we don’t like or don’t fit our message.
I am picking no battles with the leadership guys. God knows I have gleaned so much from them – my church thanks you. Though this principle of vision is a good one – it has given us an inspired view of the future, which has provided us with something to pray for and work toward – it isn’t at all what this specific scripture is about. Maybe a couple of other translations would help.
“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.” (NIV)
“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” (ESV)
“Where there is no word from God, people are uncontrolled, but those who obey what they have been taught are happy.” (NCV)
“When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” (NLT)
“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.” (MSG)
After reading through these other translations and paraphrases, one can get a clearer vision of what’s being said here. It doesn’t have nearly so much to do with imagining a vivid picture of a better future as much as it does embracing God’s revealed law word that secures our blessing if we keep it. If we would only do that, a better future would be guaranteed. “But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed” (MSG) is pretty clear. Where we don’t have an “open vision” of God’s revealed law, we become lawless (we cast off restraint, go wild, stumble over ourselves and perish because of it) and happiness is never a consequence of lawlessness. To say there is an antinomian (against the law) spirit in the church today is an understatement.
In our attempt to varnish the purpose of God with humanism, our man-centeredness has taught us to come up with whatever our hearts desire, take it to God and ask Him to bless it. I’m convinced that the abundant life for which Jesus died so that we could have it, has little to do with what materialistic Christian America has claimed.
God’s vision (the one we ought to be pursing) of an ever-increasing Kingdom where righteousness and justice are revealed in every area of life is what God is doing. It is THE WORD from God. His Kingdom is the prophetic vision and the revelation of the Scripture from beginning to end. The church is to take this vision and with His revealed law-word (the tool) exercise godly dominion in the earth until all creation is stamped with the name of its owner – the Lord Jesus Christ.
“In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign does not declare, ‘That is mine!’”
~ Abraham Kuyper
Hear the words of Joshua in preparation for the Israelites possession and dominion of the Promised Land (the type of the Church claiming possession and dominion of the whole earth):
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Joshua 1:8 (ESV)