This morning I ended up reading Psalm 17 as both part of my daily chronological reading and part of my study on the Psalms! Verses 6 through 9 jumped out at me.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who do me violence,
my deadly enemies who surround me.
The first thing that I noticed was that He shows His love and saves those who seek refuge at His right hand. For some reason I just loved that image! Then as I was doing school with Ryan this morning, we read a chapter in the book, The Courage of Sarah Noble. The last paragraph of the chapter mentions that Sarah stood holding her father’s hand and feeling more courageous. I immediately thought of Psalm 17:7. Like Sarah, I struggle with fear. I’m afraid to be alone. I’m afraid to be in groups. I’m afraid to lead. I’m afraid of snakes. I’m afraid of speaking in groups. I’m afraid of trying to hold a conversation. Get the picture? I could go on! I’m way better about this than I was a year or even a month ago. As God has drawn me more and more deeply into Himself, I have found greater and greater confidence and courage. And that causes me to want to cling more tightly to His right hand (symbolic of His power and authority). Because really, if I’m in His all-powerful, Sovereign hand, what can this world do to me? Well, plenty can happen to this body, but my eternity is secure because He has saved me and holds me in His right hand!
But then David goes on to ask God to keep him as the apple of His eye. I’ve heard this phrase before. I knew it was in the Bible, but I just kind of left it to a term of endearment and never thought much about what it actually meant. This morning I wondered what I might be missing. One definition said:
Apple, Of the Eye: The eyeball, or globe of the eye, with pupil in center, called “apple” from its round shape. Its great value and careful protection by the eyelids automatically closing when there is the least possibility of danger made it the emblem of that which was most precious and jealously protected.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
“Most precious and jealously protected!” I love that! It certainly is a term of endearment, but far deeper than I ever realized! So of course, I had to look up other references.
For the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob His allotted inheritance. In a desert land He found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; He guarded him as the apple of His eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.
Wow! This verse goes from the apple of His eye straight to wings, too! We protect our eyes without much thought. It’s natural. In the same way, it’s just part of who God is that He jealously protects His people — His portion and His inheritance! And then I when I think about being in the shadow of His wings — that’s one HUGE shadow!
Reading this makes me think that all fears are really silly! Much like what just happened with my seven year old. Literally, right now as I was writing this. I went downstairs to get the picture of Alex’s apple to add to the post. Ryan was upstairs. I called him to come down and put up a costume that he had left downstairs. He wanted to know if he could just put it on the step. I told him no, go put it where it belongs. So he slowly tiptoed upstairs, threw the costume down, then came barreling back down as if there was a monster that would eat him! In broad daylight! With every light in the house on!!! Without thinking I said, “Ryan, don’t be foolish and act like there’s a monster up there!” Then I just shook my head thinking that the generational curse of fear has definitely been passed on! Prayerfully, as God teaches me to walk by faith, not fear, He will pass the lesson on to Ryan!
I think that I only brushed the surface of this topic. I’m definitely going to have to look at this more, but for now life on earth beckons!