“You are the apple of my eye” is an Old English expression attributed to King Aelfred (the Great) of Wessex, an Anglo-Saxon Kingdom in AD 885. This expression is actually much older and is found in the Hebrew Scriptures. The literal translation of what we find in our Hebrew text is the “little man of my eye” and it appears in four Old Testament texts.
Deuteronomy 32:10 (the Song of Moses) – He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.
Psalm 17:8 (A Psalm of David) – Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
Proverbs 7:2 – Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye.
Zechariah 2:8 – For thus says the LORD of hosts: He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.
Now if someone is the apple of your eye that person is the one you cherish above all others and the one you will guard with a passionate jealousy. This is the relationship that the Lord had and continues to have with the nation of Israel. As a nation, they are cherished above all the other nations of the world. Although the expression is not found in the New Testament, the truth of it is.
1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
What would it mean to you and me to know that we are the apple of the Lord’s eye, to know that we are the little man of His eye?
It means that I did not do anything to put myself into that position. He found me and made me the object of His delightful gaze (Deuteronomy 32:10). It means that I am able to enjoy His protection. As the little man of His eye I am guarded and kept just like He would protect His very own eyes (Psalm 17:8; Zechariah 2:8). When the eyes of the enemy are set on me (Psalm 17:11; Zechariah 2:8) I can rest assured that I am not out of the Lord’s sight. It means that just as I am cherished as the little man of His eye, so I would want to cherish His Word as the apple of my eye (Proverbs 7:2).
For, when I cherish the Lord’s Word as the little man of my eye, I see Him and He becomes my most cherished one. In fact, the Psalmist declares that this vision of the Lord shaped by His Word will eventually come into sharper focus. Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied (Psalm 17:15).
May God help us to enjoy the sweetness of our place as the apple of His eye and to pick His Word as the apple of our eyes so that we might truly savor Him.