Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” What does this really mean?


When I was a teenager, my family had a Yorkshire Terrier dog named “Duke.” Duke had completely lost all his vision from the F-5 tornado that destroyed our home and his eyesight. Although he miraculously lived through the storm, his ability to see through eyes that had turned two shades of frosty white and pineapple yellow was utterly gone. He remained undeterred!

People would come over the house and stand amazed that he would walk a perfect path through a maze of patio furniture without ever bumping his head. This held true, as long as you never moved your chair or put it back in its exact location. Duke taught me a valuable lesson about the possibilities of seeing what was unseen and that having vision means much more than having good eyesight or seeing with 20/20 vision.

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” What does this really mean?

In a biblical context, the scripture teaches that people who do not get revelation, direction, or communication from God will die. This is because, without God’s leading, people are left to their own opinions, devices, conclusions, and destinies. Without God’s guidance, we become a lost ship on the Atlantic without navigation that is tossed about with each passing wind. In order to fulfill our purpose and to receive the desires of our heart (Psalms 37:4), we must first find our meaning and joy in a relationship with Christ.

How do we get this “revelation”? I believe this is one of life’s most important questions. I discover this as I meet many adults who tell me they have never discovered what they were born to do; who sense no real purpose in their lives. God gives revelation or direction in numerous ways. This happens through preachers, prayer, advice through godly friends, Holy Spirit prompting, etc. However, the primary way most believers get revelation is through Bible STUDY. Jesus said that heaven and earth would pass away, but His Word (what he has spoken) never will (Luke 21:33). To know our marching orders or our assignments, we must first connect to God.

This verse also motivates believers to have faith, expectancy, big dreams, and motivation for what God can do and what we can achieve through our relationship with Christ. Although this is not the primary interpretation of this passage, it has application to the truth that we should believe God for big things and see the unseen by our trust in God. The very concept of faith is seeing in the present what we will not see until the future. Jesus once told Thomas he only believed because he had seen it with his own eyes, but the blessed ones were the people who had not yet seen and still believed anyway (John 20:21).

Asking God for the vision of His revealed will and also asking for a vision for what He wants us to do and become are both His undeniable plan.

Like “Duke,” then and only then can we see what we are blind too and have the ability to walk the perfect path.

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