Proverbs 29:18 (ESV)

18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.

In the days of Samuel’s youth, revelations from God were not many (1 Samuel 3:1). The same can be said of the days of the prophets Amos and Isaiah (Amos 8:11–12; Isaiah 6:10–11). God’s silence was part of his judgment over a people who would not listen.

Here Solomon describes the result of such silence: when God’s revelation ceases, people “cast off restraint.” The book of Judges tells us of such a time, a time of violence and immorality where “everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25).

We see the same happening in today’s formerly Christian societies. When a society rejects the Word of God, we are likely to see all kinds of chaos. We can expect disintegration in marriage and family life, morality, entertainment, trade, art, and the justice system. God’s Word also warns us that such a time is coming over the church (1 Timothy 3:1–5).

Of course, in such times, those people who who do obey God’s Word will also suffer along with the wicked. Yet even then, God has many blessings in store for his faithful ones. God’s law (or “instruction”) is given for our good. He who keeps it can expect reward, even while wickedness abounds around him.