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. Our devotions are focused on different facets of prayer and what lessons we can learn about the power of our prayers. For more inspirational teachings about prayer, download our complimentary study.
The apple of my eye is _______________. How did you fill in that blank? Did you think of a person — a spouse, a child, a grandchild, a dear friend? Or was it an object — an heirloom piece of jewelry or a treasured watch from a grandparent? When we talk about someone or something being the apple of our eye, we are referring to someone we cherish, something that is important to us.
The phrase, which first was used in the Bible, comes from a Hebrew expression that literally means “little man of the eye,” and it refers to the tiny reflection of yourself that you can see in other people’s pupils. To be the apple of someone’s eye clearly means that you are being gazed upon and watched closely by that person. Your very image is dancing in the eyes of that person!
So when David asked God to “Keep me as the apple of your eye” in Psalm 17, he was asking God to keep an eye on him and not lose sight of him. David was asking that God would regard him as one would a cherished child, the object of great affection. And because he was the apple of God’s eye, David also 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, from his mortal enemies who were surrounding him.
David knew, even as he was making these heartfelt requests, that God would answer his prayer (v. 6). He was confident that God would show him the “wonders of your great love” and that he would be vindicated before his enemies (v.15).
We can have that same confidence that David had. We, too, can be assured that God hears our prayers. We can know that He will answer them. And because we are the apple of His eye, we know that He will protect us. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will escape from every painful circumstance and difficulty that comes our way. But it does mean that as cherished ones in His sight, God will guide us through those circumstances and help us withstand them.