To be an apple! - Psalm 17 vs 8
“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”
We are now into the first week of Advent. It’s about the coming of Jesus into a dark sinful world to be our Saviour. I love Christmas, don’t you? Some grumble about the commercialisation of the season. That’s true but I love it anyway. The carols, the nativity, the events, the presents, the food, the strange sense of love and hopefulness...and the lights. We’ve been encouraged to get the lights up early this year and already they are appearing in windows, on houses, in gardens. Its about bringing a bit of cheer into the very dark shadow of Covid 19. Will the lights be enough to illuminate this darkness?
We can see in Psalm 17 that David had some dark times as well. His spiritual journey was not all light and life, despite his “steps having kept to God’s paths” (17:5). There were many who made life very tough for him. At times he must have felt as if the darkness was closing in around him. David’s prayer in 17:8 reveals the incredible hope that he had: “Keep me as the apple of your eye.” This means that he was already the apple of God’s eye. He was only praying that he would remain so. That is amazing!
The “apple” was ancient speak for the pupil in the eye. It was seen as the most precious part of the body that was to be protected above all else. David suggests that God protects his children like the body protects the pupil. High cheek-bones shelter it from incoming blows. Bushy eyebrows keep sweat from the brow from getting in. Eyelashes act like fences, keeping all unwanted intruders out, and eyelids close over it to provide rest.
Can you see how David was encouraged? God treats his children like that. The verse confirms the idea by picturing God as a mother bird standing, with his mighty wings outstretched, sheltering us chicks from harm (v8b). How do we know this is true for us?
Because God has proved it by coming into our world – the light shining in the darkness and chasing the darkness away (John 1:5). God in the flesh came to Bethlehem and then went to the cross at Calvary where he stretched out His arms to protect us from our sin and rebellion. Paul wrote: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32).
Isn’t that an amazing hope? This Advent season, let’s enjoy the lights and everything else as best we can but let’s also make sure we do it as “the apple of God’s eye” through believing in Jesus Christ.