Prov 29:18 – Where there is no vision, the people perish….

Many management consultants have used this verse to tell their clients that their leaders need to provide a clear vision for the company. Otherwise, there is no “future” for the business; there is no direction for the team members.

So companies like Microsoft, who for a long time, had this as their vision – a computer on every desk top. Google’s mission is to organise the information in the world. And management consultants make a lot of money helping companies develop their vision, mission and values. Is this a misuse of Proverbs 29:18?

What exactly does this verse mean? The ESV translated Prov 29:18 as “Where there is no prophetic vision, the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law”. (See the many different translations provided in the list below).

Various translations of Prov 29:18

In the Old Testament, prophets were God’s mouthpiece to convey His will to the people. If God does not speak, if God does not give directions on what pleases Him, the people will do what is sinful. Hence, the verse was referring to prophetic revelation that guides the conduct of the people. And they are blessed when they keep these laws revealed by God.

In our context today, we need faithful preaching & teaching of God’s word to guide us on how we should live. If this is lacking in the local Church, the members will behave like the people did in the days of the Judges where “…there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” – Judges 21:3

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