Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

You Need the Vision

"Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law."
Proverbs 29:18

"You need a vision for the future." That was what we were told some years ago at a conference. The speaker told us how we need to have a plan for the future. We need to make goals and work towards accomplishing them. Don't wander aimlessly in life. Now that is all fine and dandy, but he used the proverb we are looking at today to back this up. The problem is this proverb has nothing to do with making plans and goals for the future. This might be clear from the translation I used here, but the King James Version which the speaker used says the proverb like this, "Where there is no vision the people perish." This speaker's problem in interpretating this proverb was a failure to understand the Biblical meaning of vision and to study closely the second line of the proverb as it sheds light on the meaning of the text. This proverb really speaks about the result of a lack of God's word and the result of hearing and obeying God's word.

The word vision refers to the means by which God often revealed His word to His prophets in the Old Testament. 1 Samuel 3:1 says "And the Word of The LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision." The book of Nahum is called "The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh." Nahum1:1. There are other places where prophets are given visions by God.  To have God's word is a great blessing. For God to remove His word is a great curse. In fact the absence of prophets and God's word was part of God's judgement of Israel. In Amos 8:11-12, God said He would send a famine of the word of the LORD. In Micah 3:6-7 God promised that there would be no visions and no answer from God as a judgement on the false prophets of that day. See also Ezekiel 7:26 and Psalm 74:9 for some other example of a lack of God's word in judgement.

The result of an absence of the word of God is that people are unrestrained. Without God's word to govern what they believe and how they are to live, truth and morality is left to each individual. This is what we see in the times of the Judges, which was a time when the word of God was rare. "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Judges 21:25. Moral chaos reigned. Israel had turned to idols from worshipping God and God in judgement took away His word which led to a greater plunge into darkness. It was only God's grace that saved them when God sent His word through Samuel to lead the people back to Him. We can see this principle at work in our days. People in our country have rejected the Bible. They want to remove anything to do with Christianity. Other countries have banned the word of God and the results are disastrous. Without God's word as the objective standard on truth and morality, people believe whatever they want to believe and people live however they want to live. And who can object? Or consider how this plays out in churches. When people do not conform the practise of the church to the scriptures, the church becomes whatever people want it to be. Then the church ceases to be the church of Christ.

How blessed are the people who have God's law and put it into practise. The law here refers to all of God's word not specially to the Mosaic law. It is not the having of God's word that brings blessing, but the obedience to its commands. Neglecting God's word is the same as rejecting it.  The Bible is a great treasure. It reveals to us what is true and false. It teaches us what is right and wrong. God, though His word, directs us to Christ as the only way of salvation for lost sinners.  We need faithful preaching which seeks to explain what God's word means and how it applies. We need Christians to do the hard work of searching and studying the scriptures on their own. We need to examine every part of our lives and beliefs to see if they conform to the word of God. "Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast to what is good." 1 Thessalonians 5:20. We need to stop allowing the culture and traditions to define our practice and doctrine. The Bible must be central in all things. When it is, how happy and blessed we shall be.
     Reader, do you prize the word of God more than your bank account? Do you delight in its truth more than your favorite food or hobby?
Sola Scriptura forever! 

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