Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings… (Psalms 17: 8)
It’s fall—and it’s also my favorite time of year. The crisp air makes it perfect for viewing the changing leaves and sitting by the fire—and buying freshly harvested apples. I love apples. My favorites are Arkansas Blacks and Stayman Winesap. Tart. Crisp. Delicious. I can eat them raw, or stewed, or baked, pied, cobblered, candied, juiced, or dipped in caramel. Anyway is fine.
Every time I go to an apple house (there are many in the mountainous regions near us) I think of this scripture. I’ve heard this idiom (…the apple of my eye…) all of my life. I’ve always believed that saying refers to someone who is the object of great affection—one cherished above all others—like a child or grandchild. And it does mean that. But in looking up the origins of this saying (like us word geeks do) I found that in the Hebrew (Old Testament language) it literally means “the little man of the eye.”
It appears several places in the Bible. David said it. (Psalms 17:8) Moses said it. (Deuteronomy 32:10). Zechariah said it. (Zechariah 2:8.) But what does it mean? Does it imply that God plays favorites?
This passages here refers to one looking into the center of the eye of another (the pupil) and seeing his/her own reflection—but a much smaller version of it. A miniature. And I think that’s what the Old Testament prophets and patriarchs meant when they asked to be the apple of God’s eyes. To see their own images when looking directly at God.
Imagine, as a Child of God, being reflected in His eyes! Think of being His focus. In the Deuteronomy passage mentioned earlier, the blessed thought continues. Moses says in his final words of the Israelites, “God protected them in the howling wilderness. As though they were the apple of his eye. He spreads his wings over them, even as an eagle overspreads her young.” (Deut. 32: 10-11) Even though this was written to an ancient people, I believe that it is a promise for us. We are each uniquely made, each can see himself reflected in the Creator’s eye, and each can enjoy His protection.
Go eat an apple and ponder this thought.