Proverbs 29:18

Vision for the Future

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

The retirement years have been called “Age 50 (or 65) to death” or “the final years.” The vision portrayed by such ominous sounding descriptions can change any anticipation retirees might have about their future to anxiety.

Looking through magazines for senior citizens isn’t much better: numerous ads for health and medical devices, warnings about scams directed at seniors, burial plans, ways to provide for loved ones when you’re gone, how to know if you’re losing your mind. Yes, there were some positive articles on second careers, secrets to aging well, helping others, financial considerations and memorable seniors. But overall, the picture is bleak.

I was reminded of Proverbs 29:18. The word vision is sometimes translated revelation or prophecy, which means divine communication. What does God say about retirement? Priests had to retire at age fifty (Numbers 8:25). But they didn’t sit in rocking chairs waiting to die—they remained in the job to which God called them and became assistants to the younger priests. Many of the key players in God’s plan have been over fifty. Abraham and Sarah’s prime came when they were over ninety.

The word translated in Proverbs 29:18 for perish is the Hebrew para` which means “to let go, let loose, ignore, let alone, neglect, be loosened of restraint.”* Living without restraint is contrasted with keeping the law, also translated “wise instruction.” Retirees are often told, “Relax, play, travel, party. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.Throw away your watch and alarm clock. Don’t worry about performance reviews.”

Oh but God’s performance reviews also include the retirement years, which can become the prime years of one’s life spiritually. Resist the world’s ideas about retirement. Scripture says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2 NIV). Seeking wisdom and adhering to God’s rules will enable us to please Him.

God’s plans for our lives began before our conception and continue for eternity. What is your vision for the future?


What visions of God’s plans and purposes for us do you find in Jeremiah 29:11-13, 2 Timothy 1:9, Romans 8:28-30, Ephesians 1:3-11, and Ephesians 2:9-10?

Read Proverbs 29:18 in various translations. Although the words may differ, how does the meaning remain the same or similar?

How old was Joshua when God called him to lead the Israelites into the promised Land (see Joshua 14:7-10)? Can you think of other senior citizens who played key roles in the Bible? (See Ruth 4:13-17 and Luke 2:25-38.)

Nancy J. Baker

*Strong’s – para` Hebrew Lexicon :: H6544 (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 22 Oct, 2014.

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