Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings… – Psalm 17:8
The short lines and quick staccato phrases give a sense of urgency to these words. The prophet is declaring the sure work of the LORD, verse 1. When the Assyrian nation, whose capital is Nineveh, would invade and conquer a nation, they’d take the defeated people and scatter them throughout their empire. This is a terrible and effective way of breaking down resistance. There’d be no critical mass of people in any one area to regroup and rise up against their scatterer. Now, these proud people are going to be humbled. They will experience the very insult and defeats they’d inflicted on their enemies.
Hear the taunts: Sure, man the ramparts—put your soldiers in the most strategic places—if you think that will make any difference. You can meticulously prepare for battle and still be thrown to the winds, never again to rise up in rebellion. This becomes a Name for God: the Scatterer. Through endless generations the Scatterer is undefeated.
Why is the LORD doing this? He has linked His reputation and His glory to that of Israel. Anyone who touches Israel, touches the apple of God’s eye. You know how sensitive your eye is. Even the strongest man will crumble when something touches the pupil, the apple of the eye. The LORD will react, protecting His dearest people. Dear to Him for He has redeemed Israel at the cost of His own dear Son. Dear to Him because they are helpless to bring about their own salvation. They need their Redeemer, their Warrior-King.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank God that He considers His people as precious, as the apple of His eye; pray for the nations in rebellion against Him, those who will experience the scattering of judgment, that while there is yet time, may many repent and know the blessedness of belonging to Jesus.
Rev. Richard T. Vander Vaart serves as a visiting prison chaplain in Moncton, New Brunswick for Redemption Prison Ministry. A few years ago he and his wife Carolyn became members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. They both enjoy hosting friends for dinner and games nights. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.