“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.” Proverbs 29:18
This morning as I finished reading all the scriptures and devotionals I usually read, I still had no idea what I was going to write about – it seemed that God was being a bit quiet and concealing any revelation from me. It would have been easy for me to scour for some more devotionals and read what others have written in way of what the Lord has taught them, so I could then compile a similar revelation for myself and from which I could share with you this morning. But, instead I kept pressing into the Lord and His word, praying He would lead me precept upon precept to the exact place He desired for me to come to today so I could drink deeply of the knowledge He wanted me to hear and share.
As I look back now as to where I ended up after all this searching and praying, in Proverbs and specifically at Proverbs 29:18, I can now see why my fervent searching was necessary. This little adventure God took me on was not a waste of time nor was it without a purpose, but rather it was meant to be an example I could share today with you about how God reveals Himself in His word to those who diligently seek Him. I do not believe that anyone is void of hearing from God on a regular basis and that you need to have a special gifts to make His word clear and understandable. But, I do think that in our hurried world there is a lack of willingness on the part of those who seek God to wait on Him to reveal Himself and to seek Him tirelessly until He does.
I love Proverbs 29:18. In finally coming to this verse and seeing how God had led me there after a lot of dead-ends but at the same time some very wonderful texts I needed to hear for my own personal encouragement, I found myself wondering more about the specific meaning of this verse and especially the word "revelation". So, out came my Hebrew word study and here is what I learned:
(Please note the key words from the verse are listed below with their meanings and for some of the words listed, the Hebrew tenses are significant, so I have made sure to include their meanings too where appropriate.)
revelation (2377: chāzōn) – a mental vision, dream, or prophetic word of the Lord
cast off restraint/perish (6544:pāra) – to ignore, reject, to be unbridled, leading to lawlessness (Tense: partial, not whole)
happy (835: āshār) - to be blessed, in plural (Tense: exclamation)
keeps (8104: shāmar) - to keep guard by putting a hedge around and to care for meticulously (Tense: continued simple action)
It is also interesting to note that the original text was not written in the specific order the that New King James sets it in, but rather the second part of the text in its original writing was flipped so that it should read, “...but he that keeps the law, happy is he!” which would make more sense in ending the sentence with the proclaimed exclamation.
So, if we take all that we have above and put it back together, we get the following expanded verse:
“Where there is no mental vision, dream or prophetic word given directly from God, people will start to live unbridled lives ignoring and rejecting God which will eventually lead to lawlessness in their lives; but those who carefully and continuously care for and store up and even go as far as to create fortresses of protection around the revelations they are given, blessed beyond understanding are they!”
I believe if we were always given revelation at the moment we opened our bibles, the hunt for God's truth would quickly lose its appeal. God wants us to search for Him, to seek Him, and then to find Him. In unearthing treasure as a result of our digging into His word and sitting within His presence we also find we have uncovered an even greater treasure than His revelation – we have found Him and we have enjoyed His company and fellowship, something that seeking His word from another source leaves us void of.
God gives us all the gift of the Holy Spirit, His spirit which brings revelation to His word and to His work amongst us each and every day. To rely on the revelation God has given another does feed our soul when we need to hear from the Lord in our weariness, but never does it replace the time we must spend in His presence seeking Him in the quiet and solemn places that will lead us closer to Him and provide us a more deep and rich revelation of what is desires for us to uniquely know about Him.