Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint ESV
I have witnessed this reality in so many ways and in so many lives but most significantly in my own. I love weekends. I am, by nature, a somewhat lazy person. I am infected with the disease of my generation, procrastination! I spend most of my weekends doing as little as possible. Oh sure there is stuff that needs to be done. My lawn requires maintenance. There are things around the house that need to be done. There are places to go and things to see, but still I find myself planted infront of the TV watching nothing or playing a video game and I resent any attempt to remove me from my sedentary settledness.
I know I shouldn't be lazy. To be entirely honest I don't even really enjoy it. I know the truth of passages like, "A little slumber, a little sleep, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty comes upon you like a bandit" (my memory may be faulty no time to look it up this morning). I have heard the exhortations of the scriptures. I am haunted by the parable of the talents but none of these can stir me permanently from my lethargy on a Saturday morning. There is one thing however that can. A purpose. A vision. If I am working toward an end that burns in my heart then limitless energy and endless resource are mine. If I have a finish line burning in my tunnel vision laziness no longer has a claim on me. I am a man on a mission, but when I do not have that guiding star in sight I relapse into cycles of destruction and slumber, and so does everyone else.
You see it everywhere all the time. People walking around with no goals visions or aspirations, the living dead. This is the greatest struggle of my generation. I spoke to a friend last week and she is really worried about her husband. His entire life consists of getting up, going to work, coming home, flopping in the lazy boy and watching TV until he falls asleep, waking up around midnight or later and going to bed, and then beginning the whole thing over again. He has no friends and is doing nothing to gain them. He has no hobbies and doesn't want one. He resents his wife and his family. He hates his life and it is tearing their marriage apart. He is completely unmotivated and at the same time completely dissatisfied with his life. You would think that dissatisfaction would be a motivator for change but it almost never is. People come to the place where they acknowledge their dissatisfaction and choose to live with it rather than risk the reach for something better. They know that change is often painful, always costly,and NEVER safe, therefore they run from it, avoiding it at all costs and choosing numbness, sleep, and death.
Let's return to the above sited scripture then; "where there is NO prophetic vision the people cast off restraint". I have painted a picture of paralysis and stillness, not a people "casting off" anything how does this make sense? It makes perfect sense. "The human heart is a desire factory" says John Piper and he is absolutely correct. The lethargy I am referring to is a lethargy of forward motion, but no on can go on forever desiring and not doing something to quench the inner fires. People in this predicament look for ways to numb the pain. They forget morality and cast off the restraint of wisdom and seek pleasure and release in every way that comes to hand. I know men who have sought perverted extra-marital relationships, deeper and deeper pornography addictions, drugs, alcohol and violence just because they were bored. They have no purpose in life, therefore they have nothing to lose. All they value is a lack of pain. I have heard addicts say things like, "It isn't about the high, it's about feeling normal again, it's about surviving." This is the cry of the cold dead heart.
A prophetic vision however enters this cold grave like a breath of life and awakens the heart to something BETTER! Rev 19:10 says "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". A prophetic vision is a vision of Christ. Jesus always said of His own ministry that He never did anything He didn't SEE the Father doing. When we get a view to what Christ is up to in our world it will compel us to get off our backsides and get our hands dirty, and I don't just mean what we would label "ministry". the longer I am around the more I HATE the segmentation of life into categories. Our life is a continuous whole and we will be held accountable for every second used or wasted. God have mercy! What is Christ up to in our homes? What is Christ up to in our inner man? What is Christ up to in our back yards? In our jobs?
It is going to be my goal over the next few weeks to open my heart and ask my Father everyday to show me what is doing around me on that day and to involve myself in it whole heartedly. He is never idle. Therefore I will never be.