Finding hope and security in trying times

“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 17:8

When King David wrote Psalm 17, he was facing strong opposition from “the wicked who oppress” him and were seeking to kill him (17:9-13). Perhaps you have experienced similar opposition in your life. Many Christians around the world are experiencing life-threatening persecution for their faith. I cannot remember a time in my life where I have seen more hatred and violence against God’s truth in the USA as we are seeing right now.

In this one verse in Psalm 17, God’s Word offers us much hope and security. David prays to the Lord, “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings.” (Psalm 17:8). Many people, Christians and non-Christians, have used this phrase, “the apple of your eye.” But what does it mean?

The Hebrew word for “apple” (ishon) means “little man.” The phrase “the apple of Your eye,” refers to the reflection a person sees of themselves in another person’s eye when they are looking at them. For your reflection to be caught in someone’s eye and for you to be able to see that reflection they must have their gaze fixed on you, and you must be standing close enough to them to see that reflection.

To say to someone, “You are the apple of my eye,” is to say “You are more special to me than anyone else.” If something is the apple of your eye, then this refers to all the things that your eyes behold which get your special attention, your complete attention.

David is asking God to keep him as the object of His affection, attention, love, and protection. Like a parent who keeps their loving gaze on their prized child, so God keeps His eyes on us.

Do we realize that we are the object of God’s affection and love? We are always in His vision because we are extremely special to Him! He is constantly paying attention to us even when we may feel alone and abandoned.

But there is more! David prays, “Hide me under the shadow of Your wings.” The word “hide” here means to carefully conceal. David is asking the Lord to hide or conceal him under the shadow of His wings much like a mother bird protects her young ones under the security of her wings where no predator can harm them.

Jesus Himself used a similar expression when He said in Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”

When we see the word, “hide,” we may remember that Adam and Eve hid from the Lord when they disobeyed Him (Genesis 3:8-10). Because of their sin and shame, Adam and Eve were afraid, so they hid from the Lord Jesus Who would walk with them in the cool of the Garden.

But if we are believers in Jesus Christ, there is no need to try to hide from the Lord. Because of Jesus’ shed blood for our sins and His sufficient sacrifice on the cross (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:11-10:18; Revelation 1:5; 12:11), we can now hide in Christ instead of hide from Him. “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3). We are forever safe and secure in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death for our sins has removed our guilt and shame so we may hide in Christ rather than from Him.

Whether we know it or not, we all have enemies: our own sinful nature, Satan the accuser and deceiver, all the armies of fallen angels, and all the wicked men of this world who oppose the love of the truth. Despite this onslaught of evil, we can find protection and security in the constant loving gaze and covering of our Almighty God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am so impressed with Your constant focus on me. I am constantly in Your line of vision because I am so special to You. Hence, there is no need for me to feel alone or neglected. I am constantly the object of Your love and affection. Satan keeps trying to deceive me into thinking You don’t care about me or love me. But Your Word brings me back to the truth that I am so special to You that You never take Your eyes off of me. Despite all the evil in this world, I can find rest and security under the shadow of Your wings. Thank You that I do not need to hide from You any more because You have forgiven my sins and removed my shame through Your shed blood. I can now hide in You, my Lord and my God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Where do you look for security?

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3

After encouraging his readers to pursue Christ instead of false teachers (2:1-23), the apostle Paul admonishes them to “seek” and “set” their minds “on things above” – namely “Christ” who is seated “at the right hand of God” in a position of power and authority (3:1-2). The reason for this is because they “died” with Christ spiritually when the Holy Spirit joined them to His death and resurrection at the moment of faith in Him for salvation (3:3a; cf. 2:12-13; Rom. 6:3-4; I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Ephes. 1:13). And now their “life is hidden with Christ in God” so that they are safe and secure forever (3:3b).

Rather than focus on the temporary things of this earth (i.e. philosophies, possessions, pleasures, popularity, and power, etc.) to give us a sense of safety and security, we are to seek and think about heaven where our lives are “hidden with Christ in God.” Just as we would hide something of value in a safe place, so God has hidden us with Christ so that no one can steal us away from Him. No one can snatch us out of Jesus’ hands (John 10:28-29)! We are hidden and  safe with the Lord. No one and nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39)! Therefore, I do not need to gain a sense of safety and security through the things of this earth because I am already safe and secure forever with Christ. Knowing this amazing truth causes me to prepare for that day when I will “appear with Him in glory” (3:4).

Prayer: Father God forgive me for expending so much energy trying to protect myself or gain a sense of security from the temporary things of this earth. Help me to focus my thoughts on things above where I am hidden with Christ in God. Thank You that I am safe and secure forever with the Lord Jesus. Knowing this motivates me to draw closer to Him and live for that day when I will appear with Him in glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.