Vision is a thing (image, idea) seen and the sense (sight) by which a thing is seen.
Vision of the Prayer of Jabez
After studying and journaling about The Lord’s Prayer, our small group tackled The Prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4, the basis for the Prosperity Gospel movement. The chapter names the descendants of Judah, except for verses 9 and 10:
9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
Out of context, it would seem that anyone who cries out to God will get what they want. But wait. Why isn’t Jabez’s lineage listed? According to scripture, he has no father and no descendants. Would God abandon Jabez and his mother—both of them clearly in pain? Apparently, He did not.
And yet, those who adhere to the prosperity gospel claim a different view of this scripture: Jabez prayed, and God granted his request. The vision of prosperity gospel adherents is that financial blessing and physical well-being are God’s will for them, and faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase their material wealth.
So, in this sense, vision is the thing and the way what we humans want to see.
Be Thou my Vision
Last year, I wrote about this lovely hymn, which we played in church, and listed the lyrics. But what about those lyrics?
In his 2017 article, “Be Thou My Vision,” blogger Michael Lentz noted three linguistic perspectives of the hymn – the first noted at the top of this post then two more:
- Two definitions of vision: vision is a thing (image, idea) seen and the sense (sight) by which a thing is seen.
- A quasi-imperative: “be thou my vision,” showing “the speaker’s strong desire that God be established as her vision, as the thing she sees and the thing by which she sees.”
- The “habitual be,” showing “…a desire that God not just become our vision for time, but a strong request that he be established as our vision—as our sight and our seeing faculty—habitually, continually, eternally.”
Be Thou my vision: God as our vision, both what and how.
Vision as Foresight
As the mountain laurel burst into bloom here at Vanaprastha, The Perennial Gen is also blossoming. Check out the site and stay tuned for a new vision.