When one of my children was small a favourite book was, ‘Guess how much I love you’. It tells a story where an adult hare comforts its child by whispering to it how much it is loved with the words, ‘I love you to the moon and back.’ We would then play a game telling each other how much we loved them, each time the distance getting bigger. To be told how much we are loved is a bedrock for our security, not only for a child but for all of us.
Psalm 17 is an individual lament where David feels unjustly accused of wrong. He is keen to defend himself before God, ‘Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!’ v1 He appeals to God on the basis that he has been tested and found to be faithful. v4,5 David then beseeches God for protection on the basis of a special love bond between him and his Lord. ‘Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence my deadly enemies who surround me.’ vv8,9 Here David is harking back to Moses’ song at the end of Deuteronomy Deut32.10 where God has found his people in a desert. Moses describes God’s chosen people in the beautiful phrase as, ‘the Lord’s portion.’
Jesus is the apple of God the Father’s eye and in him we have become God’s chosen people. ‘For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Ephesians 1.4,5 Our security therefore lies in the intimacy or our relationship with God the Father. Our portion is the Lord, ‘As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.’ Ps 17.15
Love divine all loves excelling