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Proverbs 29:18

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

    "Vision" is revelation or knowledge that comes from God.  "Perish"
is to be loosened, unrestrained, or free to wander aimlessly. 
     The knowledge we receive from God provides us with direction.  It holds us to a straight and right path.  When we, by our own decision, choose to be loosened from the guide of God's Word, we wander aimlessly.
"Keepeth" is to be hedged about, guarded, or protected.  And "happy" is from a root word which means to be straight, right, honest, prosperous, and happy.  In this verse, happy is used as an interjection meaning: "How happy!" 
     In contrast to the person who is unrestrained by knowledge from God, the person who is kept hedged in by a knowledge of the Word of God is held to a straight and right path.  That person is honest and prosperous and protected by the hedge of God's Word.  That person is very happy!

     A translation according to the usage of words might be:
     Where there is no knowledge of God the people wander aimlessly: but he that is kept straight and right by the Word of God - How happy!

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

     I want to trace the Hebrew word "para" translated perish in this verse through some of its uses in the Bible.  Para means to be loosened or unrestrained.  It may seem like a positive thing to be free, loose, or unbound.  I want to take a look at what God's Word says about being bound by revelation from God and also what the Word says about who it is that does the binding or loosening.

Exodus 5:4 
And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let
(para - loose) the people from their works? get you unto your burdens.

     This is the first use of the word "para."  Moses asked Pharaoh (at God's request) to let the children of Israel take a three day vacation from working in Egypt to go into the wilderness and hold a feast to God.  Pharaoh asked why Moses and Aaron were "loosening" the people from their required work as slaves in Egypt.  Pharaoh had bound them to these tasks and God wanted them to be free from working for three days.

Exodus 32:19-25
     And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
     And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
     And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?
     And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.
     For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
     And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.
     And when Moses saw that the people were naked
(para - loose); (for Aaron had made them naked (para - loose) unto their shame among their enemies:)

     The people may have been unbound or loosed from their clothing, but more importantly, in making and worshipping the golden calf they were no longer bound by the Word of God given them by Moses.  By their own choice they were free from the restraint of God's Word and had made themselves vulnerable to their enemies as they were wandering outside of the protective hedge of that Word.

2 Chronicles 28:19
     For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked
(para - loose), and transgressed sore against the LORD.

     Ahaz was king of God's people.  Instead of seeking help from God, Ahaz sought the help of the kings of Assyria and paid them from that which was in the temple that the people had given to God.  He also sacrificed to the gods of Syria and sought their help instead of God's.  His actions loosed Judah from the protection of God's Word and as a result Judah was brought low.

Proverbs 1:23 - 31
     Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
     Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
     But ye have set at nought
(para - loose) all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
     I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
     When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
     Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
     For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
     They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
     Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

     God promises to make known His Word to those who are willing to listen and act upon it.  However, when a man or woman chooses to be loose from the knowledge of God and wander in his or her own way, that person walks away from God's protection and guidance.  That person eats the fruit of his own way and is filled with his own devices.  
     God makes it available for us to be protected and directed by a knowledge of His Word.  We choose whether we will be bound by that Word or wander in our own aimless ways.  God does not loose us, we loose ourselves when we dismiss His Word as our guide.

Proverbs 4:13 - 15
     Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.
     Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
     Avoid (para - loose) it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

     Here God's Word tells us to hold fast to the instruction that comes from God and to loose ourselves from the path of the wicked and the way of evil.

Proverbs 8:33
     Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse
(para - loose) it not.

     Once again we are to listen to the instruction that comes from God's Word and not seek to be loosed from it.

Proverbs 13:18
     Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth
(para - is unrestrained by) instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

     It is clear that it is our choice to be bound by the instruction and reproof that comes from God's Word or to be loosed from the restraint of God's Word and wander  in our own ways.  The man or woman who is loosed from God's Word will receive poverty and shame.  But he that regards God's Word and allows that Word to stand in his life will receive honor.

Proverbs 15:32
     He that refuseth
(para - is unrestrained by) instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

     It may seem like freedom to be loosed from the restraint of God's Word, yet the Word declares that the person who is loosed from God's instruction despiseth his own soul.  Understanding comes from obedience to the Word of God.

Ezekiel 24:14
     I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back
(para - loose), neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.

     We may choose to be loose from God's Word but that does not change the truth of the Word or the fact that God's Word shall absolutely come to pass.  God is bound by His Word and will never choose to be loose from it.  If God says He is going to do something; then God does it whether we believe or not.   Our own actions and our ways judge us.  That is why people wander aimlessly and fail to prosper when they choose to be loose from the knowledge of God.

Where there is no knowledge of God the people wander aimlessly: but he that is kept straight and right by the Word of God - How happy!

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