I love eyes. I love the colors, shapes and sizes of eyes. Some eyes seem to sparkle, while others penetrate, but the thing that draws me most to eyes are the various emotions expressed in them.
We can see adoration, love, joy, compassion, anger, greed, contempt and so on in one’s eyes. Many years ago there was a saying: “the eyes are the window to the soul,” or put another way,“the eyes are the mirror of the soul.” Its origin is not exact, but its meaning is clear.
There are many references to eyes in scripture. There are even verses that talk about the eyes of God. These references generally reveal the way God sees us. This is an important concept to consider, because many times we may feel that God doesn’t bother to look at us; or if He does, it is in a judgmental or disapproving manner. I think if we look carefully at scripture we’ll see that God looks at us with eyes of love.
In a study on the eyes of God, I found an interesting expression, one that you may have heard before. This expression is: “apple of His eye.” The “His” refers to God.
God Eyes Us With Value
Deuteronomy 32:10 describes God as keeping Jacob (Israel) as the “apple of His eye.”
“He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
He encircled him, He cared for him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.”
When looking at the context of this expression “apple of His eye,” we see in the previous verse (v. 9 ), the writer is referring to Jacob or the people of Israel.
“But the Lord‘s portion is his people, Jacob His allotted heritage.”
The expression in verse 10 is set among words of love and nurturing such as: God’s finding Jacob (the people of Israel); encircling, protecting, maybe even wrapping His arms around Jacob, and caring for him.
All these words have to do with care and nurturing so it follows that if God has Jacob as the “apple of His eye” it is a good and positive thing, not something to fear or dread. It implies God’s watchful care and does not imply judgment. It indicates that God values His people and centers His attention on them much like a doting parent.
A Truth to Hold Onto
The expression “apple of His eye” refers to the pupil of the eye, the center of the eye, and implies God keeps us at the center of His focus. This expression is not just a poetic description, it is a truth about God. He holds us at the center of where He can see us, and focuses on us because He values us. He looks upon us with eyes and a heart to care for us.
This expression indicates a permanent truth about God’s character, so it applies to us today as God’s people. We see this idea presented in 1 Peter 3:12a:
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are inclined to their prayer…”
There are days when I do not feel especially valued. Sometimes I feel forgotten or overlooked, even hurt. Maybe you have had those times too? Struggles in life, disappointments in relationships, and weaknesses in our own character can discourage our spirit and blur our thinking about ourselves and God. I know I can get my thoughts and emotions in a tangle of untrue thoughts about myself, other people, and God.
But truths like the one stated in Deuteronomy 32:10 reveal God’s character and heart towards us. In those down times we need to recall this truth and let it renew our thinking, untangle our thoughts and encourage our spirit.
Icing on the Cake of Truth
In studying the expression “apple of His eye,” I found an interesting application of it in
Zechariah 2:8 which further emphasizes how much God values His people.
Here is what God says:
“For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye—“
The eye is a very sensitive organ. The tiniest speck of dust or particle that touches our eye can be painful and irritating. If someone were to actually touch my eyeball, it would be very painful and I would draw back from even allowing that to happen.
In this verse, God says that anyone who unsettles the faith of His people or harms them in any way, is symbolically taking their finger and poking the eye of God. When someone touches God’s beloved ones, those who are “the apple of His eye;” then, God responds in power against that person or persons.
Wow, that is like: you touch God’s people, you touch God. You reach out and harm one of Gods’ beloved, you harm God. He takes it personally and He responds personally.
We are God’s beloved; we are God’s people (1 Peter 2:9). God has this heightened sense of value towards you and me. He is watching and standing ready to defend and help us.
This has many applications not only as to how we see God valuing and protecting us, but it also applies to how we are to speak with and interact with one another. When I harm you – I hurt God. Is not this what Jesus said in Mt.25 in the parable of the sheep and the goats?
“And the King will reply, “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” Matt. 25:40
A Good Prayer
In closing this entry let’s consider this thought:
In Psalm 17:8, David prays and asks God to “keep him as the apple of His eye.”
I wonder how our outlook and relationship with God would change if we prayed: “Lord, keep me as the apple of your eye.” Perhaps we could add to it, “Teach me how to treat others as if they were the “apple of Your eye.”