This Week's Focus Passage

The Apple of Thine Eye

Focus Passage: Proverbs 7:2

‘Keep my commandments and live; And my law as the apple of thine eye.’

The ‘apple of my eye’ seems to be universally recognized, crossing cultural, chronological, and geographic lines, as a metaphor representing the pupil of the eye. This seems to be in most of the occasions of its employment in the Scriptures the primary thought as well. The figure is to be discovered first in Deuteronomy 32, where Moses gives us excellent parallel thoughts in the context of verses 9-11, in order for us to better determine the concept. In pointing out to the people of Israel their covenant relationship with Jehovah, he does so in beautifully poignant language. He reminds them firstly that they are Jehovah’s portion; Jacob, another name for Israel, he says is the lot of Jehovah’s inheritance. These blessings really anticipate the privileges of adoption unfolded in the Newer Testament, often represented by the apostle John in similarly grand language; ‘as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God,’ and, ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called children of God.’ John 1:12, 1 John 3:1.

The tandem images used by Moses and brought to bear in this matter are those of God’s keeping His people as the ‘apple of his eye,’ and the care an eagle gives to its young. The loving parent eagle stirs up her nest; she flutters over her young; and like an eagle, God spreads abroad His wings and bears His children on His pinions. The care that an eagle maintains for its young is thus compared with our heavenly Father’s taking us to be His portion, and because of His grace, the lot of His inheritance has fallen to us, along with His keeping us as ‘the apple of His eye.’ Surely, this is precisely what is in the mind of David, when he asks Jehovah, in Psalm 17 to ‘show thy marvelous lovingkindness,’ even by keeping ‘me as the apple of the eye; Hide me under the shadow of thy wings,’ vss. 7-8. If David’s prayer was lifted up prophetically for his people that, for their sin, would find themselves carried away to Babylon, it was answered in the words of another prophet, Zechariah, in 2:8 of his words to these very folk. Even though God would allow the Babylonians to take His people captive and be His instrument to punish them for their waywardness, and neglect of His law, He remembered His covenant with them, and expressed it once more with this imagery of their being ‘the apple of His eye.’ He now intends to punish Babylon, and therefore He speaks to His own in the following manner, ‘For thus saith Jehovah of hosts: after glory [for His glory] hath he sent me unto the nations which plundered you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.’ Whoever touches, persecutes, harms, picks on, imprisons, tortures, etc. His chosen folk, it is as though they stuck their finger in the eye of God; He feels it; it is an extremely sensitive part of Him, even as the physical eye is extremely sensitive. When God’s people are thus mistreated, it is to God a lash in His eye, a scratch on the surface of His eye; the most tender part of His eye, the pupil or apple of His eye has suffered from foreign particles imposing themselves onto this most sensitive area.

This exact figure was made use of as the Holy Spirit directed Solomon to pen the verse of our focus passage this week, where the words are uttered to those that belong to God by covenant and referred to as ‘my son’ in verse 1, ‘My son …….keep my commandments and live; And my law as the apple of thine eye.’ Do we not see that we are to understand that our Father would have us to care for His law even as He cares for us? Even as He keeps us and cares for us, so He would have us to keep and care for His law as though it were the apple of our eyes; the most sensitive part of our bodies. What is our reaction when the wind blows into our eye a speck of dust? Do we not find our eye immediately irritated and smarting for the intrusion? Will we not, without being able to prevent it, begin to blink impulsively and uncontrollably? More often than not our eye will tear up as an automatic God-implanted; God-ordained means of protection for that tender organ of our body. As God has referred to His people in these terms, the apple of His eye, is it not reasonable to consider, anthropomorphically, that when we are assailed by the world, the flesh, or the devil, that He feels it even to the point of blinking, smarting, and tearing up because the apple of His eye has been touched.

God would have us to be so sensitive with respect to His commandments and laws. Since we are the ‘apple of God’s eye,’ ought we not to desire to keep His law as the apple of our eye’? Since His love for us is such as to cause such great sensitivity toward us, should we not likewise be ever so sensitive regarding His law? God has given the physical eye great and wonderful means of protection. He has provided it with the surrounding socket of bone; He has given to it the doors of the eyelids, the lashes to act as filters, the eyebrow to stem the flow of the salty sweat of the face. Do we not equally take many measures ourselves to protect our eyes from harm? Do we not make use of windshields and safety glasses to keep the eye from harm? The inference of the words of our passage is that we should so keep the law of our God with that same sort of care. David has said that ‘streams of water run down mine eyes, because they observe not thy law.’ We may think of the blessing of tears to cleanse ‘the apple’ of our physical eyes, and pray for such tears to flow out of our love and regard for God’s holy law. How profuse should our tears be when it is ourselves failing to keep our Father’s law as we would protect the apple of our eye? O that our heavenly Father would give His people sensitivity regarding His commands; a sensitivity without a particle of legalism.


David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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