I love October in Michigan.
There are six apple orchards less than fifteen minutes from my house. U-pick apples (which means U-stuff-yourself-silly-while-U-pick apples), fresh cider, hot donuts, pies, caramel apples…a veritable fall feast for the taste buds.
And for the eyes. Hay bales, pumpkins, corn stalks, and sunflowers decorate the buildings that bulge with rows of house-made jams, jellies, salsas, barbecue sauces, and fresh honey.
I’m hungry just thinking about it.
But, in my humble opinion, nothing beats the beauty or gets my mouth watering faster than an apple tree, boughs teeming with apples and almost touching the ground.
And the variety of apples–there’s something for everyone. Michiganders seem to favor the Honey Crisp, God’s perfect blend of tartness and sweetness. I prefer hard, tart apples—Winesaps being my favorite, followed closely by Empires and Braeburns. Johnagold, Cortland, Yellow and Red Delicious…the list goes on and on. There’s an apple to satisfy everyone’s palate.
When I think of apples—which I do often these days—I can’t help but remember what David prayed to our big God. “Keep me as the apple of your eye…” (Psalm 17:8a ESV)
What a prayer! The phrase, of course, is an idiom; the apple here refers to the pupil. But when I think of this verse, I am overcome by the meaning. David is asking God to guard and protect him in the same way that we guard and protect our eyes, the source of sight. And in the same way that God protected our eyes, fashioning them with meticulous care.
We take special care of our eyes, valued by us as our most important sense. We wear safety glasses in situation where something might splash into or puncture our eyes. We spend money on eye doctors and medical doctors to keep them healthy.
And God gave us natural protection to keep our eyes safe. We involuntarily blink when something gets close to our eyes. And God recessed them in eye sockets and surrounded them by the bony forehead and cheek bone. He also gave us eyelids and eyelashes to shield them, and tear ducts to wash away any foreign object.
The eye is precious, more valuable than riches or fame. David is asking our big God to protect him with infinite care, with the tenderest touch, with constant diligence.
To Keep him as the apple of his eye.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings…