‘The apple of his eye.’ It’s the kind of phrase often used to sum up the relationship of a father and daughter, ‘she was the apple of his eye’ – she was the object of an outpouring of his love, he was totally besotted with her.
It’s the phrase Deuteronomy 32:10 uses to describe how God feels about his people. It is a phrase that wonderfully describes how God feels about each one of his people – we are the apple of God’s eye. I don’t know if you’re used to feeling the subject of such love, but it does us good to remind ourselves that that is how God feels about us, we are so precious to him.
No one is without worth and value in his eyes. We are precious in his sight. God was willing to pay everything he had for us – that is our value and worth to him, each of us is precious.
I’ve included this passage from The Message because I like the freshness and vibrancy that it brings.
The Message (MSG)
32 1-5 Listen, Heavens, I have something to tell you.
Attention, Earth, I’ve got a mouth full of words.
My teaching, let it fall like a gentle rain,
my words arrive like morning dew,
Like a sprinkling rain on new grass,
like spring showers on the garden.
For it’s God’s Name I’m preaching—
respond to the greatness of our God!
The Rock: His works are perfect,
and the way he works is fair and just;
A God you can depend upon, no exceptions,
a straight-arrow God.
His messed-up, mixed-up children, his non-children,
throw mud at him but none of it sticks.
6-7 Don’t you realize it is God you are treating like this?
This is crazy; don’t you have any sense of reverence?
Isn’t this your father who created you,
who made you and gave you a place on Earth?
Read up on what happened before you were born;
dig into the past, understand your roots.
Ask your parents what it was like before you were born;
ask the old-ones, they’ll tell you a thing or two.
8-9 When the High God gave the nations their stake,
gave them their place on Earth,
He put each of the peoples within boundaries
under the care of divine guardians.
But God himself took charge of his people,
took Jacob on as his personal concern.
10-14 He found him out in the wilderness,
in an empty, windswept wasteland.
He threw his arms around him, lavished attention on him,
guarding him as the apple of his eye.
He was like an eagle hovering over its nest,
overshadowing its young,
Then spreading its wings, lifting them into the air,
teaching them to fly.
God alone led him;
there was not a foreign god in sight.
God lifted him onto the hilltops,
so he could feast on the crops in the fields.
He fed him honey from the rock,
oil from granite crags,
Curds of cattle and the milk of sheep,
the choice cuts of lambs and goats,
Fine Bashan rams, high-quality wheat,
and the blood of grapes: you drank good wine!
The closing chapters of Deuteronomy are concerned with preventing Israel, God’s people, in later generations from forgetting or abandoning God’s laws. They are nearing a time of settlement and stability – always a time when we’re at risk of forgetting what and who are really important to us. In it’s day, this was written to be a pop song – designed for the words to be learnt. An everlasting reminder of the depths of God’s love and care. Something they were aware of day by day as they trekked through the desert knowing they relied on God alone, something they needed to take with them into the stability of life in the Promised Land.
We are set again within the context of God’s providence against humanities disobedience, and so a reminder…
This is God, Father, the one who made and established his people.His goodness and care are without question. Having chosen his people, he has watched over them.
Israel was lost in the desert. The harshness of the wilderness is such that without his care they would have perished – but God loves his people, and does not abandon them. They are, ‘the apple of his eye’.
God’s love is a practical love. Picture the image: an eagle spreading out it’s wings. Protecting, carrying on his wings, as he encourages us to fly. There is shelter, protection and love.
That is the kind of God we have, who shelters and protects his children, and when needs be carries them – and bears them to a rich and fertile land.
God wants us to know his love and support, to know the depths of his love, to be able to walk tall and carry on because we know we are the apple of his eye – precious in his sight.
And how does this effect us as digidisciples? I think perhaps we do well, when dealing with people to remember that they are the apple of God’s eye as much as we are.