The Bible says in Psalms 17:8-9, “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, from the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.” There are no words in this world since the beginning of time which have and will touch the lives of every soul like God’s Words. Sometimes even people who know nothing about God or His Word use His Words without even knowing it. Have you ever herd the phrase, “the apple of the eye.” Well here it is: an idiom which originated with God thousands of years ago and is written in His Word.
The phrase “the apple of the eye” refers to the reflection a person sees of themselves in another person’s eye when they are looking at them. For your reflection to be caught in someone’s eye and for you to be able to see that reflection they must have their gaze fixed on you, and you must be standing close enough to them to see that reflection. James 4: 8, “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.” To say to someone, “You are the apple of my eye,” is to say “You are more special to me than anyone else.” If something is the apple of your eye, then this refers to all the things that your eyes behold which get your special attention, your complete attention.
There is no respect of persons with God. All men are sinners. The eyes of the Lord are in everyplace beholding the evil and the good. Verse 2 of Psalms 17 says, “Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.” It is true that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. But there is an extreme and eternal difference between being a child of God and being a lost sinner. There is also a difference between being the apple of God’s eye and not. Apparently it is possible to find yourself in a situation where you are the apple of God’s eye. Jesus’ life is an example of this. How many times has the voice of God broken the silence of the heavens and spoken? Not very often. But one of the few times that God has done so He spoke concerning Jesus and said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus is the apple of God’s eye.
Another place in the Bible in which this phrase is used is Proverbs 7:1-2 which says, “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; my law as the apple of thine eye.” In other words it is the man who most constantly walks in fellowship with Jesus that is most special to the Father. How many men who have lived on this earth have stood on the mountainside and seen the back side of God like Moses, or like Jesus and have had the voice of God speak from the heavens concerning them? Not many. There are very few people in this world who ever give the necessary effort to fight against their own selfish will and instead do the will of God.
Psalms 17 is like a prayer, as are many of the Psalms. Verse 1 even begins that way, “Give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.” One thing that we should pray for is mentioned here in verse 8, “keep me as the apple of thine eye.” Of course, everything is about the grace of God. We are saved by grace and we always rely upon that endless storehouse of grace for forgiveness of our sins. Think of it this way and put yourself in God’s shoes. If you were a king, if you were a master, and you had servants or subjects and slaves, the one that is the most willing, and the one that is the most obedient is the one that is going to be most special too you, cherished by you: the apple of your eye.
Despite the sorrows and difficulties of life, we pass each day of our lives with God shedding great grace and blessing upon us. But perhaps there is an extra measure of grace, an extra measure of blessing, an extra measure of favor that God will only give to those who are most special to Him: to those who are the apple of His eye, to those who find His law, His word, as the apple of their eye. “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you”.
In verse 7 of Psalms 17 we learned about the phrase “marvelous loving kindness”. To truly experience all there is to experience of the “marvelous loving kindness” of God you must be the apple of His eye. It is very simple do what is right, and if you fail, repent and then do what is right.
Now notice the next phrase, “Hide me under the shadow of thy wings.” There are many benefits to being rightly related to God. If you want to be the one with the advantage in this life over other people in every situation and in everything that you do, simply trust in Jesus. This phrase is really another way of saying what was already said. The word “hide” here means to carefully conceal. Picture an image of a bird high up in a nest gathering its younglings near her with its wings. Such an illustration Jesus himself used in Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.”
It may seem a strange thing that men often have things backwards and opposite of how God would have them. Men often hide from God just as Adam hid from God after He disobeyed him. But there is no need to hide or to run away from the truth. Because of Jesus and the shedding of His blood and the giving of His life, we can hide in God instead of hiding from Him. The tendency of man is to hide from God because of the shame of nakedness. Adam hid because he knew he was naked. All sin is shameful, but instead of hiding from God we should hide in Jesus because Jesus wipes away our shame through forgiveness.
There is a very important reason that you should desire to be the apple of God’s eye and to be hid under the shadow of His wings. It is just as verse 9 says; because of the wicked that oppress and the deadly enemies that compass you about. Whether you know it or not, you have enemies: your own sinful nature, Satan the destroyer, all the host of fallen angels, and all the wicked men of this world who oppose the love of the truth. Fortunately despite all this great host of evil, you can always dwell in safety hid in the shadow of God’s wings.
The next verses give us a description of what these men are like: who are your enemies. Psalms 17:10-14 says, “They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly. They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul form the wicked, which is thy sword: From men which are their hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.” The key feature to notice about those whom are called your enemies, if you are a follower of Christ, is that they have their portion in this life. Psalms 17 calls them, “men of the world.” These are people who have never come to Jesus as Savior and have not learned the simple truth that Jesus taught when he said, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his own soul?” In this description of these men of the world they are compared to lions. The devil is also compared to a lion. There may indeed be no more shameful comparison for a man than to compare that man to the devil. How opposite indeed is this from what a man should be compared to: Jesus. Instead of becoming more like Jesus day by day, men whose portion is this life will only become more like the devil. And this is the very reason that such men are your enemies. As the very last verse of Psalms 17 goes on to explain, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
The goal in this life is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus to become more like him. This will not happen if you are a man of the world. This will not happen if your portion is only in this life. They are your enemies because they know that you are a follower of Christ and they are not. They are your enemies because they will attempt to lead you astray in any way that they can. They are your enemies because their portion is in this life and your portion is the inheritance laid up for you in heaven.
Notice also in this last verse of Psalms 17 the
word “satisfaction.” This word is also used
in the book of Exodus in reference to the manna given to the children of
When your enemies compass you about, remember Psalms 17 and remember these wonderful truths: the marvelous loving kindness of God, God will keep you as the apple of His eye, He will hide you in the shadow of His wings, and one day you will awake in eternity in the likeness of Jesus. This is your portion if you have trusted in Jesus for forgiveness of your sins.
Psalms 17 is a Psalm which depicts for us what it means to be a Christian. The Christian life should be prayer like a vial of perfume poured before the throne of God coming from unfeigned lips and professing the secrets of a heart whose only burning desire in this life is to awake in the likeness of Jesus Christ day by day. Psalms 17 verse 15 says, “Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
Copyright; 2011 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved