Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.
I've heard this verse badly misquoted, at times with great zeal. "Where there is no vision, the people perish" is the King James Version of the text, and is used whenever vision is cast and great projects proposed. The verse is most often used when the preacher or group of leaders is selling their own great idea, not linked to knowing and doing the will of God as revealed in His Word.
I see that things like prosperity and our own grandiose plans can take the driver's seat of our lives, rather than the teaching of humility, graciousness and the grandeur of God's glory. I guess it makes sense, for things like discipline, obedience and suffering don't get the crowds out, like one who speaks of health, wealth and prosperity. I'm all for the later three, but see in the Proverbs that these are three of the barriers that prevent a person fromof a deep walk with God.
True vision and true blessing will follow a path that is revealed in the Word of God. "Your Word is a lamp for my feet; a light for my path," says David in Psalm 119:105. It's a path that is filled with a sense of God's presence and contains the promise of his care and guidance.
Once again I like what Eugene Peterson has done with his translation of this verse, seeking to find a dynamic equivalent to the intent of the writer:
If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.
Proverbs 29:18 MSG
Instead of tripping over ourselves to promote our vision (and later ask for God's blessing on it), or rushing after the latest teacher that promises unbridled blessing, maybe we should be turning to the pages of the Word to find God's direction and instruction. I pray that the Lord give us a mind to understand what He's saying, ears to hear His voice, and eyes to see what He is doing, even in the midst of what appears to be trials or difficulties.