The Apple of His Eye

Yael Eckstein  |  August 7, 2023

Hand reaching up with a cloudy blue sky behind it.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
     hide me in the shadow of your wings
. — Psalm 17:8

Prayer in Judaism is defined as “the work of the heart,” which profoundly changes the nature of prayer from one of entreating God to an act that transforms who we are—not what God does. These devotions focus on different facets of prayer and what lessons we can learn about the power of our prayers.

No matter how long bedtime takes or what tasks await me, I try to take a few minutes at the end of the day to snuggle with each of my kids and really look at them, face to face. Otherwise, with a busy schedule and a large family, the day can pass without any feeling of true connection.

Once, when I was lying with my son, he gazed into my eyes and giggled, “Mommy, I’m inside your eye!” referring to his tiny reflection in my pupils. It was a beautiful moment of intimacy, and he often refers back to the “little me that lives in your eyes.”

Long before my son, perhaps the first person to use this phrase was King David, when he asked God to “Keep me as the apple of your eye,” using a Hebrew expression that means “little man of the eye.”

To be the apple of someone’s eye means that you are being gazed upon and watched closely, that you are cherished more than anything else. David asked God to gaze upon him in the same way that we look at our beloved children, when they are all clean and snuggly at the end of the day.

The Apple of His Eye

In the context of this great love, David asked for God’s protection: “Hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Just as a mother bird protects her young by covering them with her wings, David was seeking shelter in God from those who were out to destroy him.

Even as he was making these heartfelt requests, David knew that God would answer his prayer (v. 6), show him the “wonders of your great love,” and protect him from his enemies (v.15).

We, too, can be assured of God’s love for us. Because we are the apple of His eye, we know that He is always lovingly and protectively watching over us. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t experience hardships in life, but we can be sure that God will guide us through them, just as we will be there to support our children in their struggles in life.

Your Turn:

Close your eyes and imagine that you are the apple of His eye, and that God is gazing upon you with love and protection.

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