Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18
When there is no Vision!
And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. ~I Samuel 3:1
From our text,we see that there was a time in Israel’s history when there was no open vision. That is, there was no prophet appointed of God to openly proclaim God’s Word, to speak on God’s behalf. There was no man to whom the Lord had shown His Will and direction for his people.
In our day there are specific reasons as to why folks don’t have a vision of what God would have them to do. The following verse tells us that Eli’s “eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see.” Maybe at another time we could look at the reasons for not having a vision. Needless to say, there a times when we have a vision, and times when we don’t have a vision of God’s direction for us. When we do have one, life and ministry seem alot easier. When we don’t, life and ministry can be a challenge, even frustrating. We become introspective, wondering if there is something wrong with us, because others have direction as to what the Lord would have them to do and we don’t. A combination of having no leader and no light can have a negative, inward and downward spiralling effect upon us.
Be careful of fabricating a vision just to have one, we are better off without one than having the wrong one. There is possibly nothing wrong with you not having one, but rather it is not the right time to reveal to you another direction or the next step.
According to scripture
“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.” ~Habakkuk 2:3
Faith demands us to wait us to wait upon the Lord for His timing. Just as we have to wait for its fulfilment, we have to wait for its revealing. But waiting is a killer! That is not intended to be a pun in on Proverbs 29:18 that tells us. “when there is no vision, the people perish.”
What are we to do as we wait upon the Lord for His revelation? Please allow me to give you a few ideas.
- Keep the Law (Proverbs 29:18)
With this subject, the first part of Proverbs 29:18 is familiar –“When there is no vision, the people perish.” If we were asked to complete the proverb, most would struggle. The proverb finishes with – “but he that keepeth the Law happy is he.” When we don’t know what to do, do right! We don’t need a vision from heaven to know we have to keep the Law. The keeping of the law is something we are to do regardless of time or circumstances. There is never a time or place when we are not to keep the Law. We are to observe what we know to be right. Each of us has a basic idea of what is right. Just keep doing right. Do right in season and out of season. Stay under the preaching and teaching of the Law – The Word of God. These will remind us of the precepts, and reinforce to us the importance of observing what we know to be right. There are blessings to enjoy if we would hear the Word of God and keep it. (Luke 11:28)
It is good for us to obey our last orders. This is a good military principle. When no new orders are delivered, keep doing what you were told to do. During a week-long military exercise, a couple of soldiers were ordered to hold a bridge and keep it until relieved. After the week was finished, their orders did not change and no one came to relieve them. When it was discovered after one week that these soldiers had not been retrieved and were subsequently sought for, they were found maintaining their position and fulfilling their orders. After arriving back at camp, these soldiers received commendations for their simple obedience.
We can keep the Law by opposing anything that is not consistent. Keep what is in line with the Law and oppose anything that is not. When there is no vision we need to keep the Law. There will be happiness to experience if we do so.
- Keep Laboring (verse 1)
When there is no open vision, Samuel ministered unto the Lord. So too for us; when there is no vision, keep labouring! Don’t wait for a revelation from heaven before you do something. Keep on doing what you are supposed to be doing! Why? Your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:57&58). If we assess our labor in the Lord’s Work as useless and empty(vain) maybe our labors are all of self. 1 Corinthians 3:9 tells us that we are labourers together with Him. We are labouring with Him in the vineyard. Something we may want to try, when there is no vision for anything else, is to ask the Lord to give us a vision of the Judgment Seat of Christ. This will help keep eternity in view and focus. Having visited some Missionaries on their fields of service, and seeing many years of faithful service with very little to show. I ask them why they continue. The reply I received several times is .“I don’t know what else to do. The Lord hasn’t given me anything else to do.”
Duty should be the mark of labours. Once we have esteemed that the task we have is from the Lord, we should consider it our duty to fulfil what has been given to us. When a supervisor has deligated a job to us in the work place and returns to find us doing something else (or worse,nothing) he is frustrated and disappointed. I’m sure the Lord is the same when we fail to take ownership of something He has given us and complete it as required.
Diligence is another mark. We are to be steady in application. I have a lot of time and respect plodders. They are not the sprinters, the go-getters, but they do get the job done with little fuss and fanfare. Diligence can’t really be taught in Bible College. It is not only a mark of man but a mark that is seen in his life and ministry.
Our labours are to be marked by duty,diligence and delight. “I delight to do thy will!”
It is hard to go to work day after day, week after week if we do not enjoy it. Our delight is not much in what we are doing but for whom we are doing it. Somehow Jesus Christ took delight in the cross being the Will of the Father. The Father hasn’t asked that of any of us yet. May these marks be indicative of our labours for the Lord.
- Keep the Light burning (1 Samuel 3:3)
One of the dangers we face when we have no vision is to allow the light to burn out. We fail to see the importance of keeping the vessel topped up with the oil, to keep it trimmed and burning bright. Another thing we can do when there is no vision is to keep the light of the gospel burning. If we fail to keep the Law and keep labouring, it would be easy for Satan to blow out our little light. We keep the light burning by our witnessing. When I was at home with family, a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses visited the family home on their rounds one Saturday morning. After a few introductory comments, my father asked them if they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, to witness to him about Jehovah. They looked at each other, fumbled abit and then left. Why? They had nothing to witness of. If we are saved, we have a testimony of Salvation that’ cannot be refuted, as well as a testimony of God’s intervention in our health,marriage,finance etc. Be ready to give an answer of what He has done for you.
To keep the light burning, pray. Pray for souls around you, and for the lost that come to the Church services. Praying we will have a three-fold effect- We will view people differently, it will increase our soul consciousness and folks will be saved? Probably not, but we can carry a burden and pray.
Giving helps to keep the light burning. We can give of our time, treasure and talents. We can give to the work of God at home and abroad. Churches and Missonaries will gladly receive what is given to be able to put more into the work of God.
Let your light shine! Don’t hide it where it can’t be seen. We are the light of the world since Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, has left us to fulfil His Will. You say, “I don’t have much light!” I quote the line of a song, “The darker the night, the brighter the light shines.” Keep the Light burning.
- Keep Looking for God
It seems a paradox to be looking for God when we have no vision for direction. The two are different. We may not have vision of direction but God can still be real and fresh as ever. We can continue doing what we are doing and, we can look with the eye of Faith and see God. Be looking for God in His Word. Stay in the Word. There is so much that it does in us, if we will stay in it.The Bible is the Only book we can read and have the Author beside us. What an amazing Book!. There is always something new it. We will never exhaust it. Don’t treat it like a textbook but read it as a devotional book – something that will keep your devotion to the Lord strong. Be looking for the Lord in your worship. What are blessing when you see God in your churches services. What a drag when you don’t see God in your church services. There is no greater thrill than to visit the Lord’s house when He’s at home. Just a little time in His presence can make many things worthwhile. Another place to look for the Lord is in the way. That is, the way you are currently going. Surely your life and ministry are going somewhere. When commuting in an unknown area, I listen to the GPS, I look at the GPS on my phone and I also look for the confirmation along the way. As we live our lives, it is good to have the confirmation of our way. If there is no confirmation, find out why. Here is something to keep in mind. – it is easier to change direction of a moving vehicle than a stationary one.
- Keep Listening (verse 4 -18)
When there is no vision, keep listening. If we will keep the Law, keep labouring, keep the light burning and look for God, we will be in the right place to hear when God speaks. Be sure –God has’nt stopped speaking. Rather, we have lost the art or skill of listening. The generation of today are watchers, not listeners. They find it hard to follow verbal instructions.
Children must be taught to obey voice commands, to respond to a voice. It is not to their profit to have them to respond to images, coaxes, bribes and the like. God doesn’t use any of these things, only His voice. Be listening for that still small voice. God is not short on Words; we are short on listening. Before Samuel could hear, he had to have the right attitude – that of submission and servitude (verse 10). We see that in his answer.
When Samuel was listening, he heard God tell him something special (verse 11-14). It was going to make ears tingle, fulfil promises, pass judgment and bring change. That’s what we are looking for in a vision – people to go WOW, as they see His Word fulfilled in our lives, and bringing this present chapter to a close and start the next. No matter what God tells us, it’s special. Whatever He has us to do, it’s special.
What he heard resulted in silence (verse 5). He didn’t go back to sleep but lay there the rest of the night. God may tell us something that will keep us awake all night too. There came a time that he was able to speak (verse 18) what he had heard from the Lord. There are times when it might take us a little while before we are able to communicate to others what God has put in our hearts.
Notice lastly that the vision that he received was set (verse 18) by another. It’s always good to have someone verify the vision that the Lord has given to us. Please notice Samuel had a vision by what he heard from the Lord (verse 15). That is why listening is so important. Don’t steal someone else’s vision or modify another’s. Wait on the Lord for your own. I pray these things will be a help to you.