Week of Monday, July 4  ­– Sunday, July 10
Apple of His Eye - Man as Defender

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, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround m
e. -- Psalm 17:6-9 ESV

On April 20, 1778, Rev. Jacob Cushing, the second pastor of the First Parish Church in Waltham, Massachusetts, preached a sermon commemorating the Battle of Lexington and the “shot heard round the world” that began the American War for Independence on April 19, 1775. Cushing’s sermon included these remarks:

"The enemies of God’s church and people, are God’s adversaries. “The Lord’s portion is his people—he keeps them as the apple of his eye” [Ps. 17:8]. Whoever grieves or afflicts them, provokes God, for they are “his peculiar treasure.” And having a singular concern for them, he will be their shield and their defense, however they may be persecuted by their enemies."

Cushing was referencing the words of David in Psalm 17 as he cried out to the Lord for his defense and protection from his enemies. David recalled God’s faithfulness and reminded his hearers that the God of heaven was not only keenly aware of the plans of the enemy to utterly destroy them, but this same God also loved them dearly and was at work on their behalf to defend them.
Many of the courageous men who fought for America’s independence (of which we celebrated the 246th anniversary this week) knew this truth like David did. They instinctively knew that God loved them and would stand with them in battle as long as they remained faithful to him. Founding Father Samuel Adams declared: “We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection.”

 As we studied the life of David in the books of Samuel and Chronicles, we saw that he often found himself under attack and surrounded by the enemy. In those circumstances, we also read that he inquired of the Lord for direction and comfort. Here in the Psalms, we get more of the story. We hear David’s heart as he cries out to God. In these verses, he’s desperate for God’s defense and protection. “The apple of your eye” is a figure of speech referring to both the pupil in the eye as well as someone or something precious that a person’s eye is focused on.  There is nothing more vulnerable than the pupils of our eyes. Getting grit or dirt in your eye can be debilitating, even if only momentarily. In a battlefield situation, it can mean the difference between life and death. Consequently, we go to great lengths to protect our eyes, and that is what David needed from God. David also longed to be hidden in the “shadow of his wings,” which is a great picture of God’s protection.

 God was faithful to answer David’s prayer. In fact, the very next psalm, Psalm 18, is a record of David giving thanks to the Lord for deliverance from all of his enemies.

 What the Lord did for David (and for America) as the Defender, we need to do in our homes with His help. Men, we must jealously protect our families as the “apple of our eye.” We need to be that shelter that provides safety and security against all the attacks of the enemy. At the same time, we need to exercise the humility that David did in crying out to God for his aid in defending our families. When we do, we will find that God is faithful to answer our prayers as well.
  • Knowing God loves you like he does, how are you displaying that love for those God has placed in your care and protection as their Defender?
  • What are some practical ways that you can defend your family as the “apple of your eye”? 
  • Humbly ask God to help you become a more effective Defender.