One of our two-year-old fruit trees is a Granny. Too young to be a grandmother, but she’s the producer of beautiful fruit this year! Don’t they look tempting? These apples are full-size, even though they’ve grown on a dwarf tree. The largest one (on the left at the back) is nearly 30 cms in circumference. The skin is yellowish-green and when I bit into its crisp flesh, it was unexpectedly sweet, not like the sour, grass-green ones on offer in the supermarket!
My husband remembers the Granny Smith apple trees from his childhood on his father’s orchard. Most of their flowers came in Spring (our May). Interestingly, more blossoms appeared six or seven months later, in December, when the first crop of fruit was already half-grown. It would be June or July of the next year before these later fruit were mature! That’s when we harvested these ones in our picture. They’re always better fruit, I’m told. (He’s right!)
The other day, while munching on a late ‘Granny’, my thoughts went to the saying, ‘He’s the apple of his father’s eye’. We’ve heard it, but do we understand it? Yes, I know that the child is favoured, blessed and maybe a bit spoiled, but what does it mean when we say that we’re the apple of God’s eye?
We can’t see God in the natural, but he has his own parts; spiritual ones. A loving heart, a mind that knows everything, hands that touch us, and eyes that constantly keep us in view. So where is the apple of his eye?
In the Hebrew language, in which part of the Bible was written, the word translated as ‘apple’ in English, is ishon, which is related to the word ish, meaning ‘man’. And I also discovered that the original meaning of this word was ‘the little man of the eye’.
I have a limited knowledge of the way the eye works, but here’s a bit of it. As you know, that dark spot in the centre of our eye is the pupil, which is just a hole to let the light in, passing it on to the lens. The retina then receives the light that’s reflected onto it, and it then passes the image to the brain via the optic nerve.
When we’re looking at someone, the ‘little man’ we see in the centre of their eye, is ourselves. Some of us have been standing before God all our lives. Others have only recently allowed the light to shine on us. Regardless, God looks on each of us as his most important treasure.
This fascinating simile is lost in many modern translations of the Bible, where it shrinks into a simple phrase, such as praying that God will keep his eye on us, or asking him to ‘protect me as you would your very eyes’. Or when God promises this: anyone who strikes you, strikes what is most precious to me. All these are good and true, but I still love the poetry of the ‘apple’ image!
In Deuteronomy 32:10, The Message Bible has these words: God…took Jacob on as his personal concern… He threw his arms around him, lavished attention on him, guarding him as the apple of his eye.
What a special relationship! And it’s not only the descendants of Jacob who have that place in God’s eye; we’re included since Jesus came and died for us so we could be in God’s family.
I’m the object of his never-ending love! I can look at God, and see myself reflected in the apple of his eye. And so can you!