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. (Deuteronomy 32:10)
The Apple Of His Eye
Moses was nearing his final days and as he began to prepare the children of Israel for the conquest of the Promised Land he reminded them through a song of their incredible history of God’s grace. Joshua would lead the people in conquest of Canaan as Moses would not be permitted to enter the land. This did not dissuade the great prophet from speaking the words of a powerful song to encourage the people to be faithful to the word of the Lord. He will rehearse the struggles of the nation exhorting them to see the mercy of God allowing them to come to the shores of the Jordan River with the Promised Land gleaming before them. There is so much to accomplish. The song of Moses is a beautiful tribute to the character of a loving God who was compassionate to a rebellious people. It becomes as much a story of the nature of the Lord’s relationship with His people as anything else. He is the rock; a God of truth and without injustice and the Lord is righteous and upright in all He does.
Moses recounts the beginning of the nation of Israel from the separation of the sons of Adam to the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He likens the formation of the nation as the Lord finding His people in a desert land and in the wasteland without hope and unable to care for themselves. When the people of God journeyed to Egypt in the days of Joseph there was great prosperity and joy. After Joseph died a ruler arose that oppressed the Hebrews in a severe way. Crying out to the God they knew little about, the Hebrews were delivered by the mighty hand of God through the leadership of Moses. There was nothing the people could do to overtake the Egyptians. Their deliverance from the land of bondage was only possible by the power of God. Standing before the Red Sea they saw the power of God open the waters and deliver them across on dry ground. That same power brought the waters together again and destroyed the army of Pharaoh. God’s power did that. Through the forty years of wilderness wandering God protected His people, gave them food and water and guided them to the border of the Canaan. He had told them repeatedly the land was given to them. Under the leadership of Joshua the nation of Israel would enter Canaan and in less than ten years subdue the land. After the period of the judges, three kings would arise unifying the people into a powerful nation. After the death of Solomon the nation was divided and fell into rebellion. Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin would remain as the people were taken into captivity. Following the seventy year mark prescribed by God a remnant returned. In all of the travails of the nation of Israel one constant remained that Moses had reminded them of in his final song: they were the apple of God’s eye.
Eyesight is one of the most precious commodities the human body possesses. The pupil of the eye is very tender and with this imagery God tells the Hebrew people how precious they are to Him. He found them desperate and without hope. Reviving them by His power He treated them as the most precious nation on the earth. Everything they needed He gave them. He promised to bless them without measure if they would serve Him and obey Him. Armies fell before them because of God’s love for them. The land would produce great bounties of blessings through the hand of God. No nation would be able to stand against them because they were the apple of God’s eye. Everything possible to give them the blessings of the earth were provided by the benevolent hand of the Lord. Israel was the apple of God’s eye and they turned their hearts away from Him. It is tragic to read the history of Israel and see how precious they were to the Lord and how they struggled to show that same love to Him. Two thousand years ago God sent His Son to die for all men because all men are precious in the sight of the Lord. In the same figure, man is the apple of God’s eye. There can be no greater testimony of God’s love for man than to see the sacrifice of Jesus on a Roman cross and to tell all men how precious they are before Him. Sadly most men reject that love and fail to honor the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The apple of God’s eye turns away from the cross. How sad and how tragic.