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Psalm 17:8 – Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. (NIV)

When I was growing up, I often heard the term, "the apple of my eye", usually from my grandmother, who used it for all twenty-two of her grandchildren. We don't hear it so much these days, which is a pity, because it's one of those endearing Bible phrases that have been part of our culture since the King James Version was printed four hundred years ago.

Frequently, older people use it to describe how precious younger people are to them, especially children and grandchildren. But the funny thing is that in the ancient Hebrew, where this phrase comes from, it doesn't really say "apple" at all. The word is actually bath, which in Hebrew means "daughter". In fact, in Hebrew, the whole phrase reads, "Preserve me as the little man of the daughter of your eye" — which probably would not have caught on in English, so I guess "the apple of your eye" is a lot easier to express and accept.

Whatever its origins, I like the phrase. It conveys the idea that we are precious in God's sight and that we are each held dearly in His heart. That's really what we want to know; that's really what each of us needs to hear. Sometimes, we can feel terribly alone or lost in this world, with no one to care for us. But when we place our faith in God, He tells us in many ways, through Scripture and intimately through prayer, that we are cherished, embraced, and loved by Him.

Prayer: Father God, there are days when we all feel like children who need to know of Your all-embracing love. Sometimes, we struggle with life and feel weighed down by our responsibilities. During those moments, we need to be cradled in Your arms and made precious in Your sight. Today, let each of us be aware that we are indeed the apple of Your eye and that You care dearly for us. In Your holy name, we thankfully pray. Amen.

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John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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