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).
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
Jesus said in Mark 4:11 – “…To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables…”
I must admit that there many parables and spiritual truths that I still don’t understand. Yet, Jesus says to His disciples (and it should be relevant to me as well) that it has been given to us to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.
But in the same chapter, Mark 4:34 – we read that “…when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples”. The point I learn here is that understanding the mysteries of God requires us to be alone with Jesus. It requires dedication of time and devotion. It requires prayer and discipline of study. And when we are alone with God(Jesus), seeking Him in prayer and through His word, the understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom comes forth.
May this encourage all of us to read the scriptures and spend time alone with God, seeking Him in prayer and reading His word.
Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off? – Job 4:7
When reading the book of Job, we must take every sentence into the correct context. They are not like the words of the proverbs where every sentence contains great wisdom. For example, this sentence spoken by Eliphaz is clearly inaccurate. He gives the impression that life is sustained by one’s innocence – this is a gospel of works! No one is innocent in the eyes of God. We are all sinners and are sustained by His grace and mercies. If one quotes this sentence out of context, he will end up with a different gospel other than the gospel of grace altogether!
“And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.” Neh 8:12
The people gathered to listen to the exposition of God’s word. And “…they understood the words that were declared to them“. What was the effect of understanding the words declared to them? They “..rejoiced greatly”. When the word of God is clearly preached and taught, they give joy to our hearts….the joy of the Lord. And there will be great rejoicing. When it is not explained clearly, the people will be dull and unfulfilled. How sad it is when we hear but cannot understand…how sad it is when the word is not clearly declared. What great joy is missed.
Yes, it is the Lord who decides whether to bless the declaration of His word. Yet, the preparation for that declaration rests with the preachers. How important it is that we should pray for the preachers! How important it is that we should pray that the hearts of the listeners may be prepared to hear. Yes, the most boring sermons can be used by the Holy Spirit to bring about a revival. But we are not called to deliver boring sermons. Because the word of God is exciting and clear. And so, we must explain it in simplicity and absolute clarity and let God use it for His purpose and glory.