The first part of today's verse is "Where there is no vision, the people perish." This is usually taken to mean that people must have goals toward which they are working. They must have a definite program in mind with a clear picture of the results desired and the steps leading to them.
But the word vision here means "a revelation from God." And the word "perish" means "cast off restraint." So the thought is that where the Word of God is not known and respected, the people run wild.
The contrast is found in the second half of the verse: "He that keepeth the law, happy is he." In other words, the path of blessedness is found in obeying the will of God as it is found in the Word.
Let us think about the first part of the verse. Where people abandon the knowledge of God, they become unrestrained in their conduct. Suppose, for instance, that a nation turns away from God and explains everything on the basis of the evolutionary process. That means that man is the result of purely natural processes and not the creation of a supernatural Being. If that is so, then there is no basis for ethical standards. All our behavior is the inevitable result of natural causes. As Lunn and Lean point out in The New Morality, "If the first living cell evolved by a purely natural process on the surface of a lifeless planet, if the mind of man be as much the product of natural and material forces as a volcano, it is as irrational to condemn South African politicians for apartheid as to condemn a volcano for erupting lava."
If God's Word is rejected, then there are no absolute standards of right and wrong. Ethical truths depend on the individuals or groups holding them. People become the judge of their own conduct. Their philosophy is "If it feels good, do it." The fact that "everyone's doing it" is all the justification that is needed.
Thus the people cast off restraint. They abandon themselves to fornication, adultery and homosexuality. Crime and violence increase to alarming proportions. Corruption spreads throughout business and government. Lying and deceit become accepted forms of behavior. The fabric of society disintegrates.
"…but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Even when the rest of the world runs riot, the individual believer can find the good life in believing and obeying God's Word. This is the only way to go.
Bible Verses: Proverbs 29:18
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