Twelve days ago I married the most beautiful woman that I have ever met. Kudos to her for putting together a dynamite ceremony and reception. Both events could not have transpired any better. Several friends and relatives approached Charity and me about how the ceremony resonated with them on a deep level. This made us smile as it confirmed to us that the focus of the wedding remained on Christ. The reception ushered in a time of celebration, which complemented the ceremony quite nicely. Charity and I spent the last nine and a half days in French Polynesia (Tahiti) enjoying our Honeymoon. Where we stand at the moment is on the other side of both the wedding and honeymoon.
Toward the end of our stay in Tahiti, my wife and I discussed the next step for our lives. Both of us had been gunning for either the wedding or the honeymoon. It seems that the whole of her life had been building toward the wedding day. Mine centered on the honeymoon. Both events have come and gone leaving a tremendous amount of memories in their wake. Because those events are over, we both asked each other the next logical question: what is next for us or what are we moving toward in our lives? Whenever I end up in such a reflective mindset, God always speaks to me through his word. Naturally, he reminded me of the following scripture text:
“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law” (Proverbs 29:18, ESV).
“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law” (Prov. 29:18, NKJV).
One of the things that I enjoy about the various bible translations has to do with how each one handles certain texts. Some translations are better than others, which means that my go to ones are the ESV, NASB, and NKJV. I also use the KJV and the NIV, but I check those two against the others, especially the ESV, which is my personal favorite. All that aside, I find the first half of Proverbs 29:18 to be very strong and applicable for my wife and me. Both of us voiced the same question for our lives now that we stand on the other side of our wedding and honeymoon: where are we headed, or what do we shoot for next? The question that we are asking flows out of a deeper longing within us for a vision of our lives. King Solomon’s proverb functions as both a word of encouragement and a warning.
If Charity and I claim to follow Jesus, then this means that his Spirit dwells within us. In fact, our Lord said as much during the upper room discourse in John’s gospel. Jesus explains further that the Holy Spirit instructs his people in the way of righteousness and his word. I submit to my readers that the Spirit of Christ has stirred the hearts of my wife and me about desiring a vision for our lives together. Both of us have a genuine desire for a vision of what is next; however, this desire comes from our heavenly Father. He wants us to have a vision, and it is his heart toward us. This is the encouraging aspect of this word from Proverbs. All three of us desire a vision to keep us anchored in each other while moving forward within safe boundaries.
Because our Father does not want us to veer off track, and neither Charity nor I wants to veer off track, then that means the possibility of doing so is real. Hence, this is the warning aspect to King Solomon’s proverb. In the ESV, there is a footnote to the clause “the people cast off restraint.” Another way to interpret this is to say the people are discouraged. When I put two and two together, it seems to me that there is a direct correlation between receiving prophetic vision or revelation from God and one’s hope for the future. It is time for Charity and me to seek the Lord together for a prophetic vision or revelation for our future. Without this, we can wander off of the path, or we can experience deep fear about what lies ahead for us. Neither aimlessness nor fearfulness is the Father’s heart toward my wife and me.
When I read the second half of Proverbs 29:18, it says the following: “…but blessed is he who keeps the law” (Prov. 29:18b, ESV). This part intrigues me quite a bit. In the bible, the law refers to God’s commands, which are his words. All three words, law, command, and word appear to be synonyms as they are used in the bible. It seems to me that the prophetic vision or revelation orders the lives to whom God gives it. Back in Deuteronomy, Moses informs the people that God’s purpose behind the manna had been to teach them that “…man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3b, ESV). Whatever prophetic vision or revelation God has for Charity and me, we know that it will order our lives simply because that is what his word accomplishes in those he loves.
Nearly 2000 years ago, Jesus quoted Deut. 8:3 to rebuke Satan in the wilderness. This serves as a reminder about the strength within God’s word to preserve and protect his beloved Son in the midst of harsh conditions. Charity and I are among the Father’s beloved children by virtue of our new life in Christ by grace through faith. We embark on a new pilgrimage together as husband and wife. Neither of us knows the condition of the terrain that lies before us. We do know the Lord and his word. Those two have preserved and protected our lives up to this point despite harsh conditions. Do we dare to trust the Lord for a prophetic vision or revelation for our life as husband and wife? Do you desire God to speak in your life about your future? Have you witnessed the governing power of the word and the Spirit in your life? If you have, then I encourage you to approach his throne of grace with boldness. You might even see me there, too.