Be Thou My Vision by Eleanor H. Hull, 1905.
1 Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art–
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Eleanor Hull translated the Old Irish hymn “Bi Thusa’ mo Shuile” into this familiar hymn in 1905. Sung by the church for more than a century, it has been published in 139 hymnals.
Observe: First, the importance of sound doctrine. “Naught be all else to me save that thou art.” We do not envision a god of vain imagining because Christians are blessed to behold the true and living God as he has revealed himself to be in all his glory, power, and majesty.
Speaking first through prophets, then through his eternal Son, who came in the flesh and lived among us, and finally, through his Spirit, who guides us by the scriptures into all truth. Sound Bible doctrine is our best thought, hope, and the light to our path, day and night.
Second, the hymn then describes in verse 2 how God is our wisdom; he is always with us because he is our great Father. The words “true son” are legal adoption and inheritance language, which are to be understood as “I thy true son or daughter.” In Christ, there is no difference. We are all equally his children (Galatians 3:28; 4:6).
Third, verse 4 puts our earthly life in proper perspective. Material riches or twitter followers are ultimately empty praise. Our worth is in an inheritance beyond our wildest imagining. He is our High King of Heaven, and there is no greater treasure. Jesus described our inheritance this way. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44–46, ESV).
Finally, we sing this truth.
5 High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
In Christ, we have victory, not in our strength, but the power of the Spirit. May I reach heaven’s joys? Thomas, one of the disciples, asked Jesus, who is “bright heav’n’s sun,” that very question. His answer? Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).
We can tell our “heart of my own heart, whatever may befall” that the Father is our continuing vision because he is the ruler of all, present circumstances included. We are secure because we are his children through the finished work of his Son.
Jesus gives us this sound advice. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1–3).