“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but the one who keeps the law, blessed is he!”
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.”
“For the message is a witness to what is decreed; it gives reliable testimony about how matters will turn out. Even if the message is not fulfilled right away, wait patiently; for it will certainly come to pass–it will not arrive late.”
2 Peter 1:3
“I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence.”
As the curtain closed on the Old Testament, we are told that approximately four hundred years followed with silence before the time of Christ. No divine communication with God’s prophets – but was God really silent? I have wondered about this silence and what genuine believers did during this time. I can identify with seasons in my own life where it seemed God was silent and there was no perceived new revelation. The scriptures all began to sound familiar to me and I wondered if there was anything new God could show me. The thought of nothing new being revealed in God’s word sounds incredibly foolish to me now, but I was being tested. Would I dig in and seek Him, even if there was no low-hanging fruit? If the chips were down and it seemed as though I was forsaken or forgotten, would I worship Him fervently then, too?
Some believe today that there are no more prophesies – the canon is complete. Others believe God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow and still speaks to His people – not adding or subtracting from God’s Word, but speaking through visions, dreams, His people and His word. Whatever you believe concerning the gifts and their possible cessation, we all can agree that God’s Word is living. Active. He speaks through His Rhema word to those who will listen. When I do not feel like I can hear God, I need to be still and read His Word and pray. It might be that nothing will be revealed to me – can I still trust in Him and His wisdom that He has given me everything I need to walk faithfully in Him? When I am tempted to doubt that God will draw near to me, or teach me a new treasure about Himself, a still small voice reminds me of Who really is my vision, after all.
So then, rather than seeking a vision, or the latest inspiration or Christian fad to follow, I cannot settle for any counterfeit or good looking substitute. Being near to Him is vastly more amazing than being religious ever could be. Even though in my desire to know Him more, I can sometimes get side-tracked in the knowledge itself, He is my vision. While I love contemporary worship, hymns still have a way of piercing my soul and bringing me to His throne room. One of my favorite hymns is “Be Thou My Vision”. It is such a sweet reminder of the simplicity of worshiping Christ alone – not methods of worshiping Him or the devotions themselves, but Christ alone. If my life is hidden in Him, not trying to be established in our society’s concept of a vision, that is bliss, indeed.
I leave you today with the original translation of “Be Thou My Vision”, circa the 6th or 8th century. Just as powerful today as it was then. See if you can hear the servant’s cry after God’s own heart. May it be our cry, too.
English translation by Mary Byrne, 1905, originally written by Dallán Forgaill, an Irish poet in the 6th century:
Be thou my vision O Lord of my heart
None other is aught but the King of the seven heavens.
Be thou my meditation by day and night.
May it be thou that I behold even in my sleep.
Be thou my speech, be thou my understanding.
Be thou with me, be I with thee
Be thou my father, be I thy son.
Mayst thou be mine, may I be thine.
Be thou my battle-shield, be thou my sword.
Be thou my dignity, be thou my delight.
Be thou my shelter, be thou my stronghold.
Mayst thou raise me up to the company of the angels.
Be thou every good to my body and soul.
Be thou my kingdom in heaven and on earth.
Be thou solely chief love of my heart.
Let there be none other, O high King of Heaven.
Till I am able to pass into thy hands,
My treasure, my beloved through the greatness of thy love
Be thou alone my noble and wondrous estate.
I seek not men nor lifeless wealth.
Be thou the constant guardian of every possession and every life.
For our corrupt desires are dead at the mere sight of thee.
Thy love in my soul and in my heart —
Grant this to me, O King of the seven heavens.
O King of the seven heavens grant me this —
Thy love to be in my heart and in my soul.
With the King of all, with him after victory won by piety,
May I be in the kingdom of heaven O brightness of the son.
Beloved Father, hear, hear my lamentations.
Timely is the cry of woe of this miserable wretch.
O heart of my heart, whatever befall me,
O ruler of all, be thou my vision.
Lord, may nothing hinder us from coming and having fellowship with You! Remove any obstacles and help us to worship You with pure hearts. Be our Vision, sweet Lord!