Be Thou My Vision

QUICK! Name a verse from the Old Testament that is mentioned more than once in the New Testament and is the subject of an old Irish song! Please give this song a listen, then come back for the answer.

Boast … yes and no

Jeremiah 9:23-24 is such a wonderfully instructive verse. No wonder it also shows up in the New Testament and in a song with roots more than a thousand years old.

This is what the LORD says:
โ€œLet not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
But let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,โ€
declares the LORD.

This exhortation in Jeremiah opens with three “BOAST NOTS”.
Boast not in:
— the wise’s wisdom
— the strong’s strength
— the rich’s riches

Prayer set to music

Our song — “Be Thou My Vision” — is a prayer with five verses.

Verse one opens and verse five closes praying that God may be front and center in our purpose, heart and understanding.

It is the three verses in the song’s middle — verses two, three, and four — that respond to Jeremiah 9’s instruction. These verses begin:
— Be Thou my Wisdom
— Be Thou my breast-plate
— Riches I heed not


You will find versions of this song in recordings and hymnals that don’t include all five verses. We miss a lot of understanding when any of the verses are left out. If a person simply prayed the ideas from this song’s five verses, it might go something like this:

Lord, give me a heart to see You in all things.
I know that without You I have no reason to live.
Lord, help me know truth.
I know You are always present.
I know You are my loving Father, and I am your dear son.
I know Your spirit lives in me.
Lord, strengthen me and protect me with your unmatched power.
I know You alone are my wealth, my inheritance and my treasure.
I know you reign forever and bring the victory.
May I live in Your presence and honor you forever.

What part of this prayer, praise and thanksgiving would you want to leave out? I’d rather just sing the whole song and enjoy it.

Paul put Jeremiah to work in Corinth

Read Paul talking to the Corinthians in light of Jeremiah 9, and the picture he paints gets bigger and brighter. Grab a Bible and read the verses leading up to I Corinthians 1:31 and 2 Corinthians 10:17.

The Corinthians were a tough crowd. They would probably have felt right at home in our modern, western, secular culture. They were impressed with their own wisdom and dazzled by their own light. Paul showed them Jeremiah chapter 9 to help them get smarter about God and to know Him better.

Jeremiah 9 helped Paul teach the “smart” Corinthians about God.
Jeremiah 9 can still help us “moderns” the same way.

“Know Me!” – God

We get to know God through His works and His Word.

Look around. Look up. We see the beauty of his handiwork everywhere. He works in us to will and do of His good pleasure. As we embrace His thoughts and do what He asks we prove what is His good and acceptable and perfect will. God is not far from any of us. He is not hiding. ๐Ÿ™‚

Read Jeremiah 9:24 — what a great verse to help us know God better!

Have the understanding to know me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,โ€
declares the LORD.

Sing this song — what a great tune to help us think about God’s goodness to us all.

God bless you lots,
-Dale R.


Download this music page

LYRICS: Be Thou My Vision
Ancient hymn
English Lyrics Eleanor Hull 1912

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.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee, and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my breast-plate, my sword for the fight,
Be Thou my armor, and be Thou my might;
Thou my soulโ€™s shelter, and Thou my high tower,
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of Power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

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.

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Your thoughts?

Do you think Jeremiah 9 (boast/don’t boast) still works today? Please share your thoughts about any part of the post in the โ€œLeave a replyโ€ spot below. Thanks!

7 Replies to “Be Thou My Vision”

  1. mark winterer ๐Ÿ•Š

    Hey My Friend,
    Your Brother Dan R. has given your
    work with this one some pretty high
    acclaim. Take credit and know your
    Ministry is a great example of many
    years of success as a workmanship
    within His Word. You know the answer is the right way for us to be
    Blessed by.
    Love you like your Brother (Dan R.)
    does. True problem solving skills made from His Willingness for
    The True Promise. Super Sweet!!!
    Nice…. ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽต m.w. ๐Ÿค—

    Reply
    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Mark, thanks for your kind words. I’m so thankful that, though distance has separated us, we are still enjoying each other’s joy in the Lord after all these years. God is good. Keep shining! God bless you lots – D

      Reply
    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Paul, thanks for your note. I’m glad this was a timely blessing! God’s best to you -D

      Reply
  2. Dan R

    Hi Dale,
    I really love this old hymn. The guitar playing and vocals are great. I love the way you play so crisply. It makes it sound as classical and timeless (as it is). A great message for the days we live in.
    Also thanks for that verse in Jeremiah. It is just what I need for what I am studying today.

    Reply
    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Dan, thanks for your kind words. This old hymn does indeed have a lot of depth and it has paid back people who dig into it. I’m delighted it fit with what you are working on. These are days when God’s curriculum has us connecting with just the right information at the right time, often from sources we were not expecting. Love it! God bless you lots – D.

      Reply
  3. Julia Witchard

    Good early morning mr Dale, I just finished reading your sermons. u hit the nail on the head, that is truly what I lone for, to have a one- on- one “RELATIONSHIP”, with my “HEAVENLY FATHER,”That is all I want,to have that, PERSONALLY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY FATHER JESUS.. Jeremiah 9:24. Sums it all up..that’s what i ,…truly wants is to know my HEAVENLY FATHER…”TRULY ” THANKS, Mr Dale, I really enjoyed this week sermon…thanks again…julia Witchard…

    Reply

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