Where There is No Vision

Wild WestIn the King James Version of the Bible, Proverbs 29:18 reads: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Usually in Hebrew poetry, which is the genre (type of literature) of this particular text, the first phrase is complimented or contrasted by the second phrase. This is the tell-tale trait of Hebrew poetry called: parallelism. English poetry usually recognized by rhyme, such as what is found in “Jack and Jill” or “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” So, when we look at Proverbs 29:18 in the KJV text in the light of the fact that it is Hebrew poetry, we are immediately confronted with a problem! What is the connection between “vision” and keeping the “law?” At first glance, there seems to be none, especially if we take the word “vision” to mean what are the common definitions today. Vision is usually thought of as having to do with seeing or sight or dreams and goals. But is that the primary definition the author had in mind when he penned this text? I used to think so, but when I really looked at the text in light of its genre, I began to think differently.
I researched the Hebrew word that is translated as “vision,” and I discovered that the word can also be translated as; “prophecy or divine communication.” The Hebrew word that the KJV translates as “perish” is a word that means, “to be loosened of restraint.” Wow! That makes more sense to me in light of the whole structure of the verse! So here’s the Miller Translation: “Where there is no divine communication [no word from the Lord], the people are unrestrained [the people run wild]; but he that observes and obeys the word of God, happy [blessed] is he!”
Isn’t that where we are in the world today? Many people have cast off all restraint and as Paul wrote in Romans, not only have they cast off all restraints, they even deny the existence of the One who restrains! The Apostle Paul said: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:18-23 ESV)
Because the world has cast off the restraints of God, civilized humanity has degenerated into an uncivilized and inhumane mess! We have gone from one extreme to the other! I remember when I was growing up; I heard that the television shows; “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza” were taken off of prime-time television because they were too violent! The cartoons our kids are exposed to today are more violent than they were! The racy R-rated movies of 30 years ago are the G-rated television shows of today! Speaking of “Gunsmoke,” I was in a store the other day and I observed a man who had a holstered-gun on his hip in plain sight! It reminded me of the cowboy-days of the old wild-west! One of the things I remembered from Gunsmoke was the fact that Marshall Dillion, Chester, and Festus, often had a problem distinguishing the good guys from the bad guys because everybody was wearing a gun! I think with the current gun laws and climate, particularly in America, we are no progressing in civility; we are regressing back to the days of the wild-wild-west!
Now, in the midst of this climate of unrestraint, where people are demanding freedom from all restrictions; my question is this: “Who is going to save us from ourselves?” History has proven over and over again; when people reject God and are let to their own standards, there are no standards and that culture is soon destroyed!
I pray that America turns back to God, but if history and the Bible are credible, and I believe they are, it will not happen! So what should the true Christian do in times like these? Be a credible witness to the truth of God’s word! Don’t compromise to cultural relativity! Be a living example of God’s love and grace! And pray! Pray for the courage to be salt and light in such a time as this!