Since I began studying covenant theology in the past couple years, I’ve become partial to verses of hymns that speak of God being our highest treasure, portion, or inheritance.

My new favorite verse of Be Thou My Vision is:

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.1

My new favorite verse of Amazing Grace is:

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.2

These hymn verses echo for me the promise of God reiterated in every progressive revelation of the covenant of grace that he will be God to us and we will be his people (Genesis 17:7; Leviticus 26:11–12; Jeremiah 31:33; Revelation 21:3). They remind me that God is indeed “the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). 

  1. Be Thou My Vision, Eleanor Hull, 1912. []
  2. Amazing Grace, John Newton, 1779. []

Like a vain woman

John Piper on C. S. Lewis on praise:

Lewis says that as he was beginning to believe in God, a great stumbling block was the presence of demands scattered through the Psalms that he should praise God. He did not see the point in all this; besides, it seemed to picture God as craving “for our worship like a vain woman who wants compliments.” He goes on to show why he was wrong:

“But the most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything—strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise. . . . The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game. . . .

“My whole, more general difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”12

  1. C. S. Lewis (1958). Reflections on the Psalms (pp. 94–95). Harcourt, Brace & World. []
  2. Piper, John (2011). Desiring God, Revised Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (Kindle Locations 253–264). Random House, Inc. Kindle Edition. []