Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings. (Psalm 17:7, 8—NKJV)

This prayer of David is a model for all saints, in all ages, of unreserved confidence and expectation of protection from God. The content of the two verses cited above is the meat of David’s prayer in the psalm. He asks God for a keen sense of His presence, tenderness, and care during his trials. David’s attention needed to be drawn away from the enemies surrounding him and upward to the God who had charged Himself with David’s care.

The lovingkindness of God is His carriage and bearing of Himself toward David in lovingly loyal acts of grace. Interestingly, David is not decrying an absence of God’s covenant loyalty but rather asking that God’s loving grace would show. God is ever diligent and precise in His behavior toward His own so that His every action is born from His inexhaustible love.

Believers mentally recognize that God pours His blessings upon us every day and all day long. However, a common problem among us is that we are so often filled with distractions and callousness that we fail to observe His grace. Like David, it is the prayer of the saints that God awaken us to His myriad mercies which we receive every day. (The “right hand” of God pictures the might and authority in which God exercises His lovingkindness.)

Those who claim Him as “the Savior of those who take refuge” are the only ones who have a right to request a keen sense of the presence of God, especially in the midst of trials. Trusting Christ as your Savior for delivery from sin and its eternal penalty is taking refuge in Christ’s atoning sacrifice on Calvary.

David chooses a fascinating word picture to illustrate the kind of tenderness He requests that God show toward him. He desires that God would keep him as the “apple” of His eye. This is not some sort of precious fruit upon which God is to keep a watch over. Though all God’s saints enjoy the providential, ever-watchful eye of God upon their lives, the request of David is much more poignant.

The “apple” is the pupil of the eye, the black spot of the eye in which we can see ourselves reflected when we look closely at another’s pupil. The pupil is the light collector, the tender spot of the eye, and the part which our bodies are designed to protect. Our eyes are so important to us that God designed that they are protected by the bone structure, the eyelids, the eye brows, the tear ducts, and the eye lashes. We even have instinctive reactions of shutting and turning away the eye from split second dangers. It seems as if there is no other part of our body so instinctively protected. David’s prayer is that God would diligently and tenderly preserve him with such an intricate arsenal of protection and be aware of his pain and jeopardy.

The final part of the request for a keen awareness of God’s care is pictured by the shielding afforded young birds under the wings of the mother. There they find protection from enemies, comfort from the elements, closeness, security and safety.

Could there be any greater illustrations of the work of Jesus Christ for us upon the cross of Calvary? It is at the cross we see His lovingkindness toward His own as He died so that we may live. It is at the cross that we see the compassionate tenderness as He treats us as the “apple of His eye.” And it is at the cross that we see His blood shed for the shielding of the saints from the holy wrath justly aimed at our sinful souls.

God is diligent in winning you and He is diligent in keeping you. If you have taken refuge in the Savior through faith, be sure to pray as David asking for a thankful, personal awakening to the lovingkindnesses of God. Seek to recognize how God has made you the apple of His eye and has shielded you under the shadow of His wings. Trust and obey.