Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
~Proverbs 29:18, KJV
Social harmony and restraint cannot be achieved without the preaching and teaching of God’s word.
~Duane A. Garrett
If there is a verse in the bible where serious students need to check other translations, it is Proverbs 29:18. Proverbs 29:18 has nothing to do with a building program. Whereas it is true that a church without a vision will die, this is not what Solomon is talking about. Preachers, including myself, are notorious for taking scripture out of it’s context. I heard about the preacher who boasted about his ability to open the bible at any place and began preaching, so he opened his bible and it fell on John 14. He looked at the bottom of the page and saw this verse, John 14:22…Judas saith unto Him…so he preceded to preach a scathing message about Judas Iscariot and his treachery, then he turned the page and read the rest of the verse… not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Context is paramount if we want to know the truth. So, lets just look at various translations to Proverbs 29:18: obviously, some folks are not in pursuit of the truth.
- NASB– Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.
- NRSV–Where there is no prophecy, the people cast off restraint, but happy are those who keep the law.
- NIV– Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.
- NLT–When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.
- NCV–Where there is no word from God, people are uncontrolled, but those who obey what they have been taught are happy.
- GNB– A nation without God’s guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God’s law!
- Paraphrase by Eugene Peterson– 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.
So Solomon is not talking about a building program or the long range plan of a local church: he is talking about anarchy and it consequences. He is talking about a nation that rebels against God and His word. We Americans want our cake and want to eat it too: we want the best of both worlds. We want prosperity but we do not want restraint or discipline. We want the thrill of game day but we do not want the agony and sweat of Monday through Thursday practice. Even within the walls of the church, we want to know the POWER of His resurrection but we do not want to share in His SUFFERING. We want the results without suffering through the process. What Solomon is saying is this: You can’t have one without the other. If you want to improve your game–you practice, practice, practice. If you want to enjoy freedom, you practice restraint. If you want order, you obey God’s laws. If you want to be happy, be holy. BUT, what you can’t say is...We want unprecedented freedom without God’s moral restraints. We want prosperity and happiness without conforming to God’s code of conduct. It is simply not going to happen. When a nation cast off restraint and ignores God’s law, it always leads to anarchy which leads to chaos, confusion and destruction. America cannot be happy unless we first choice to be holy. What we have witnessed in the last 50 years is a “casting off of restraint.” We are not going to allow God, nor the church tell us that homosexuality is a highly destructive evil or that killing babies is wrong.
Busy day coming up. I have a COLS at Bremen, Alabama. It is between Dodge City and Cold Springs. It will be a graveside at Persimmon Grove Church of Christ. I started to run the pic at the top in the DIGEST but pulled it at last minute and then accidentally found one I can use. To me, it is horribly funny.