One of the big paradoxes in our spiritual lives is that we can personally engage with a transcendent God. This should mess with us a little bit because the two would seem to stand in total opposition to each other. Much like law and grace, diligence and resting, free will living or accepting each outcome in life as a forgone conclusion, the idea of “Intimacy with the Almighty” as Swindoll calls it, is something believers will wrestle with for all our lives.
There is an abundance of scripture that supports each aspect of his “here-ness” and “there-ness.” All through his Word we see creator God interacting with created man. The obvious epitome of the two coming together is found in Jesus and his work on Earth and the life we have in him.
Let me also off this: there is a little-known word picture in the Old Testament that also underscores the nearness of God to the individual. It occurs in several different places.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow
of your wings
Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. ...
Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye.
I’m going to assume you too have seen the English expression “apple of your eye” used I these two references. They could easily be described as “Paw-Paw” talk when describing his granddaughters. We get the idiom in English as something that is highly valued and highly favored. That’s a great beginning.
The first time it is used is in the song of Moses in Deut. 32:10-11. The authors in Psalms and Proverbs (most likely David and Solomon) would have been familiar with Moses’s words when he describes God’s relationship with humanity like so:
Duet. 32: 10-11
10In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
11like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them aloft.
Now, my Hebrew professor and friend Dr. Brett Dutton would concur when I say I’m no Hebrew scholar. My observations of these passages were born out of curiosity first which drove me to “the Google”, then to commentaries, and now to you. In other words, this is not an stiff display of scholarship, but an expression of tenacious worship as I began to hunt down the link between these verses.
Here it is and it will blow your mind:
The Hebrew word 'iyshown literally means “the pupil of the eye.” In one form the word picture is actually this: “the little man of the eye.”
Stay with me here…
Question: What does it take to see your reflection in someone else’s eye?
Answer: nearness, closeness. The little man/woman in the eye of someone else is your reflection!
The English expression “apple of your eye” doesn’t just speak to value, it speaks to proximity.
Bam! If the Lord has kept us as the 'iyshown or apple of his eye, it means the Lord is present, like super present, super near! He sees his reflection in his pupil and you can see your reflection in his! This profound word picture clearly illustrates that the Maker is simultaneously concerned both with the functions of the universe and the beating of our hearts. It means he has never gone anywhere. It means maybe we were the ones that blinked or look away.
This is one of the largest IFTT or “If This Then That” concepts of the Bible. If, as Moses suggests, has kept us as near as he says, then my outlook on life should be radically different. I can look at yesterday and trace where he guided my steps and circumstances. I can look to tomorrow knowing he is “in my face” ready to display Himself through me in what He has planned.
So, reader, He has kept you as the apple of His eye. You are in His gaze. He desires relationship with you. The question is what are you going to do about it. My answer for you? Respond with your life given over in worship (Rom 12.1-2) to the God who numbers the stars, yet knows you by name.