Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
History and Context:
Proverbs: King Solomon, son of King David, often considered the wisest man who ever lived, wrote the majority of the proverbs in order to share his wisdom. Many of his proverbs have become common sayings in today's society and people don't even realize that they are from the Bible. Proverbs are one line nuggets of wisdom, therefore there is not really any context to consider as this line stands by itself. At the beginning of the book of Proverbs Solomon addresses his 'son' which have led many to believe that he wrote this book for his biological son, but it could also simply be a term for any younger man that happens to read the sayings.
Habakkuk: Habbakuk was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah. The book was written either right before or right after the fall of the Assyrian empire and the rise of Babylon. Either way Babylon is rising at the time of Habakkuk but Judah hadn't yet been taken. However it was only a few years later that Babylon destroyed the city of Jerusalem. Habakkuk deals with the very difficult question of why do the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer.
Proverbs 28:19 tells us the importance of having a vision, a plan or a direction in which we are going. Solomon tells us that without vision the people 'perish'. this word actually means that they 'run wild without moral restraint'. In other words, when there is no one who stands up with a vision there is chaos amongst the people. He then shows us in the second half of the proverb that our vision needs to line up with the law of God and to help protect and preserve God's laws.
Then in Habakkuk, the prophet shares with us the importance of not only having a vision, but of writing it down and making it clear for ourselves and for all who are striving with us after that vision. It doesn't do any good to have a vision if we haven't made it clear, but haven't it clearly written down gives people the ability to run with the vision when they read it.
Tomorrow is the beginning of the new year and the common practice is to make New Year's resolutions. Of course it is rare that people actually follow through with these resolutions and they end up making the same ones over every year. Instead of making New Year's resolutions, let's pray and seek God for a vision for the new year. What does God want you to do in this new year? If you do it with God then you will be successful. Maybe God will give you several things or maybe He will give you one major vision, but I promise you that if you seek Him He will speak and He will share with you His vision for the new year!
Lord, I want to follow your plan for 2012. I know that your plans are always bigger than I can imagine so I will trust you and follow you. What do you have for me in this year? What do you want me to do? Lead me and direct me! In Jesus' name, Amen!