Vision is something that is truly necessary for those who want to walk in God's way. Some view vision as some kind of "on the spot" leadership or direction from God. Yet this passage seems to be saying something different. Let's take a look today at what it means to have vision - as well as where it comes from in our lives.
The warning here is very simple - where there is not vision, bad things happen. We read here that the people are unrestrained without it. The word "vision" is from the Hebrew word "hazon" which means a revelation, a vision, and oracle - which all points to a divine communication. We see that this must be a communication from God - because the second half of the proverb speaks of the law. Without a word from God - a true one - the people will live unrestrained lives. The word unrestrained paints an interesting picture for us. It comes from the Hebrew word "para" which means to be let loose. Exodus 32:25 uses this word to describe how the people of Israel were completely unrestrained when Moses was up on the mountain getting the 10 commandments from God. He told Aaron that he had let the people get out of hand. The idea was that they were morally and spiritually out of control. They had made a god of their own with their gold, and were currently worshipping that false god with a feast that was morally bankrupt. It resembled something more like a drunken orgy. That throws a great deal of light on this statement in Proverbs.
When there is no word and no revelation of God - the people will quickly become bankrupt morally. They will get completely out of hand in how they view spiritual things and that will lead to a looser and looser set of morals by which they live. As said here - they will be unrestrained. It is that revelation of Who God is that will help keep us in check morally. And for the people of Israel that involved the law of God. We read that the happy man is the one who keeps the law. But for Israel this was not just a mere set of rules and regulations by which they had to live. It was more than that - it was a revelation of the heart and mind of God. It revealed to them just Who God was.
Knowing God by God's revelation of Himself did two things for Israel - and it does these two things for those of us who are wise enough to learn from it as well. First, we are more restrained spiritually and morally. We are restrained from making a God in our own likeness and after our own desires. This, according to Romans 1, is what we will do if we do not have a revelation of God given to us from which to learn these things. We will make a god just like us - who will act just like us - and in the end, will approve of how we wanted to live. If you think this is wrong - just look at the Greek gods of mythology. They were as debauched as any human - and their actions resembled fallen men more than they did a loving, benevolent, holy God. No God, no restraint - Know God, know restraint. The second thing that we are blessed with in knowing God's revelation of Himself is happiness. The word for "happy" is "eser" which means to be in a state of joyful bliss. It refers to the kind of long-term happiness that comes from knowing and walking in God's favor in our lives.
A wise man is one who regularly refers to God's revelation of Himself. He does not make his own God who then approves of how he wants to live. He learns to relate to God because of Who he sees in Scripture. Some things are not to be left to our human minds - and the nature and character of God is one of them. Knowing Him by His revelation of Himself creates true joy in our hearts - and a true fear of God that will help us make good moral and spiritual choices.