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“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of Your wings…” Psalm 17:8
Keep me as the apple of Your eye, Lord. I want to pray that also. Because I’ve come to realize that David wasn’t the only apple of Your eye. Your desire is to make each one of us the apple of Your eye. And I can only become the apply of Your eye by Your power, by Your provision through Jesus Christ, by my surrendering to Your trust, wholly to You.
Here’s the interesting thing about being kept as the apple of Your eye. That word for “keep” is “shamar.” It means to hedge about as if with thorns. Wow! You have to really keep me there, don’t You? Those are pretty drastic measures that I need You to take. You must be the One to guard me, to protect me, to attend to me, to mark me, to preserve me, to save me, to make me sure. You are absolutely the One who gives me the desire and the ability to be the apple of Your eye. Yes, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”( Philippians 2:13) And I am so grateful that You do and You delight in doing this.
But what does it really mean to be the apple of Your eye? Does it just mean that I am special to You? Or does it mean something more? It’s actually a Hebrew idiom. Wayne Blank says it means “little man of the eye, meaning the reflection of someone seen in a pupil.” That’s important. Because if I am the apple of Your eye, that means that there is this smaller reflection of You in me. When You look at me, You see a smaller image of You. That’s pretty exciting. That’s pretty lifechanging. And that’s what You desire in me. And that brings You delight and pleasure while at the same time I am delighted and pleased in You.
So the question is, when You look at me, do You see Your reflection? And maybe it works the other way in a different sense. Do I see myself in Your eyes when I look at You? Because if do, my appearance ought to be changing and looking more like Your “little man” than me.
Now, I started searching these truths out specifically today. Because I’ve been thinking over and over about Your delight in Your people and Your pleasure in us, even individually. I’ve been thinking of the personal nature of Your love and caring and provision. I’ve been thinking of the way You reach down and touch me in the middle of my life in ordinary and not so ordinary situations. And I wonder how precious a gift it is for the God of all creation to moment by moment touch our lives by delighting in things so much smaller than Yourself. I mean, I’ve seen You provide things of “little consequence” that would only matter to me, but You do so at the right moment and I know it is from You. And other people say You don’t do those little things, and they don’t know what they’re missing of You. But I know that You really care about me just as much as You care about each person who has ever lived. And You provide things like just the right friend at just the right time, a coin in a fish’s mouth, oil in a jar…Why? Because You want us to know that You are with us, that You are for us, and that You ARE God, and that You are God who loves us. This is the most real relationship that has ever existed and You really do interact with us because of the reality of Your love for us.
I’m finding the same thing as the woman in the Song of Solomon in chapter 2, verse 3. “As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” The more and more I trust You and draw myself closer and closer to You and live under the shadow of Your wing, the sweeter Your fruit becomes. I become close enough to receive it and partake of it. I witness it’s growth. I don’t miss it. And it makes me jump for joy and share the news with everyone because it’s so good and so special!
See, You really do take pleasure in those who take pleasure in You and in Your ways. Psalm 147:11 says, “The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy.” Do I revere and honor You with all my life and thoughts? And this isn’t a hope that maybe will come to pass. Your hope is an assurance of those things we haven’t physically seen yet, but we know it is coming. I have not experienced the absolute fullness and finale of Your mercy, but I have begun to experience and I know that I can count on it’s fullness in You.
Yes, I know that You “take pleasure in [Your] people: [You] will beautify the meek with salvation.” (Psalm 149:4) Those who humble themselves and submit to You and Your will, will be made beautiful in You. It’s unexplainable how You do it, but You do. You make us into the apples of Your eye and it’s the most beautiful thing!
See, You are preparing a people to rule Your kingdom. And it’s Your pleasure, Your good pleasure to prepare us for that, and only You can prepare us. But You are unlike other kings. This is more personal for You. You not only call us to serve under You and prepare us for that but Ephesians 1:5 tells us that You have “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ Himself, according to the good pleasure of [Your] will.” We’re not just Your servants; we are Your children and You take care of us like a loving father would care for his children. What father only gives his children the necessities of life? Doesn’t a loving father also give good, pleasurable gifts just out of love? And if earthly fathers do that, wouldn’t my Heavenly Father do so even more and even better?
I can’t stop thinking about what a privilege it is to be made and to become the apple of Your eye. That You would make “known to us the mystery of [Your] will, according to [Your] good pleasure which [You] have purposed in [Yourself].” (Ephesians 1:9) That You would count us “worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [Your] goodness, and the work of faith with power…” (2 Thessalonians 1:11) This is Your pleasure to interact with us and do this work in us and show Yourself to really be our God, to really be involved in our lives. You really did create me and all things for Your pleasure (Revelation 4:11) and I most fulfil that as I surrender to You and allow You to make me pleasurable and to bestow Your pleasure on me. I suppose You created me to be a recipient of Your pleasure because that’s the best way that I can shine and give back pleasure to You as You see the works of Your hands in me.
Now Isaiah 53:10 shares with me the depths that You went to in order to make me and keep me as Your pleasure. You went so far as to choose to let it please You to bruise Him, to bruise Your own Son, Jesus. You put Him to grief, You made His soul an offering for my sin, for the pleasure, for the joy, of making me the apple of Your eye, for bringing me back into relationship with You where You could delight in me, the work of Your hands. It’s all because of my Jesus that my days are prolonged with You. It’s all because of Jesus that I become a pleasure to the Lord. It’s all because of Jesus that I prosper because everything in His hands prospers and I’m right there in His hands. This isn’t an abstract truth. This is personal and it’s real. And the wonderful thing is, I get to experience the reality of this truth in You every day and every moment in my surrender to You.
Sometimes I experience being the apple of Your eye in big ways. But sometimes I experience it in the smallest, most unexpected ways. Only, now I’m starting to expect it because You’ve stepped in this way so many times! Well, I was waving at my job as Lady Liberty. And it winds up being my very personal 4 hour praise and worship session. And the song, This is My Father’s World comes on. I’m listening to it and I look around. Because I’ve been thinking that I could be better serving You if I didn’t have to wave. But then I looked around and heard You telling me that at that moment, I was right where You wanted me. I was the apple of Your eye because I was revelling in You. I was waving at people because I loved them and wanted to make them know someone really cared, even if I am paid to wave. I was grateful for the warmth of the sun. I was surrounded by His world and living in it with Him as my focus, even if all I was doing was waving at people in passing cars and advertising for a tax service. Can You imagine that? I was the apple of His eye and it made me cry while I was standing their waving. Yes, this is my Father’s world and I am learning to rest in the thought of what that really means about me.
And that’s not all. The other day, I went to Wal-mart with a friend. I knew that what I was going to purchase was going to be expensive (ink for the printer) so I knew I couldn’t buy some things I was really desiring, mainly fruits. I was looking for my friend and found her by the fruits with a bag of oranges. I thought, “Lord, I wish I could have some oranges but I can’t buy them today. I won’t have enough money.” And I left it at that. I never said anything to my friend. We finished our shopping and proceeded to the checkout counter. I paid for my things and then as she started laying hers up on the counter, she said,”I bought these oranges the other day and they were so good that I wanted to buy some for you today. These are for you.” Now think about that. Lord, You already knew the little insignificant desire of my heart because she was picking out those oranges for me before I even said anything to You. You cared about me so deeply that You took the time to give me oranges!
Does God really care for us? Absolutely. Maybe the problem is that we just don’t let Him. Maybe sometimes, if we’re not experiencing this kind of care, it’s because we don’t expect it or repel it when someone does offer. But maybe God uses people in this beautiful way, to allow us to be His handiwork before others, so that He can delight in us in ways that only we can appreciate because He responds to even those things that no one else knows. Yes, Lord, You do care for the sparrow, but You care even more deeply for us. And the wonderful thing is that You show it and it pleases You to show Your love to us. It’s what makes You God and noone else. Nothing compares. Absolutely nothing.