Be Thou My Vision – Thursday Music

Today one of my favourite hymns, possibly the unofficial hymn of Saar Fellowship, ‘Be Thou My Vision‘.

According to myth, when St. Patrick was a missionary in Ireland in the 5th century, King Logaire of Tara decreed that no one was allowed to light any fires until a pagan festival was begun by the lighting of a fire on Slane Hill.

In a move of defiance to this pagan ritual, St. Patrick did light a fire, and, rather than execute him, the king was so impressed by his devotion that he let him continue his missionary work. Three centuries later, a monk named Dallan Forgaill wrote the Irish poem, “Rop tú mo Baile” (“Be Thou my Vision)” about this legend of St. Patrick.

Forgaill was martyred by pirates, but his poetry lived on as a part of the Irish monastic tradition for centuries until, in the early 20th century, Mary Elizabeth Byrne translated the poem into English, and in 1912, Eleanor Hull versified the text into what is now a well-loved declaration that at every moment of our lives, God would be our vision above all else (

The first verse starts

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.

Scripture is pouring out of this hymn, Philippians 3.8 encourages us to have the mind of nought be all else to me, save that thou art, and Psalm 139.17-18 and Psalm 3.5 go with the idea that waking or sleeping, our great God is in control.

The second, third, and fourth verses talk of wisdom, of riches, and of might/victory, and this corresponds so well to Jeremiah 9.23-24,

23 Thus says the Lord: 

Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom,

(Be thou my wisdom…)

let not the mighty man boast in his might,

(High King of Heaven, thy victory won…)

let not the rich man boast in his riches

(riches I heed not…)

24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

The last thought of the hymn is this, 

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

This has to be our point to ponder today – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood before Nebuchadnezzar and said, paraphrased, whatever befall us, we will not worship you, God is still our vision, God is still ruler of all (Daniel 3.16-18).. 

As it was for those three brave young men, so it should be for us. We have to take our direction and instruction from God, from His Word, from His people, not those who ask us to do otherwise.

So, whatever it may be for you today, tomorrow, next week, or next month, whatever you are working through or whatever is on the horizon, let us pray that God is our vision, the Lord of our hearts, and that that at every moment of our lives, God would be our vision above all else.

Link to video here.

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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