The apple of one’s eye is the pupil, the most sensitive and delicate part of the body.
Consequently, then, if anyone tries to harm Israel, it’s as if they are poking their finger into the very pupil of God’s eye. It’s personal.
God is intimately involved with Israel. He is represented as both father and mother. And yet Israel turned to other gods and forgot the Rock who bore them.
“They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded. You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot God who gave you birth.” (Deuteronomy 32:17–18)
Though God had every reason to give up on the nation of Israel, He had mercy instead, lest Israel’s enemies exalt themselves. He saved Israel for His own name’s sake that He would be known in all the earth (Psalm 106:8).
Likewise, when we fall back into sin, God’s very name is on the line. When we think that we have blown it too many times, and that God has every reason to give up on us, may we remember that although God will deal with us, He is merciful, faithful and true.
Similarly, He desires that we also be long-suffering with others, extending the mercy and grace that we have received from Him to others.
The Power of Life and Death
From the calamities Israel suffers, God wants her to understand that He is the one true God with the power of life and death in His hands. Although He wounds, He also binds up those wounds.
“See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god beside Me; I kill, and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39)
Moses concludes his last message to Israel with the exhortation to observe all of the words of the Torah, which is not just a book of meaningless, empty words. It is the instruction manual for a long, full, satisfying life of blessing, health, holiness and prosperity.
“These instructions are not empty words—they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you will occupy when you cross the Jordan River.” (Deuteronomy 32:47)
At the end of Moses’ ministry, God commands him to ascend the mountain one last time. Even though Moses is still full of health and vigor, he climbs Mount Nebo in the Land of Moab to die and be buried.
Although this great man of God was not allowed to enter the Promised Land, but was only given a glimpse of it from afar off, Moses was as faithful to God in death as he was in life (Deuteronomy 32:52).
In the Haftarah for this week’s study, David also recites a Song of Thanksgiving, which has parallels to the Song of Moses.
Like Moses, David praises God as his Rock, refuge, fortress and deliverer after He saves his life from King Saul.
“…The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge ….” (2 Samuel 22:2–3)
When we are being persecuted, pursued or in any kind of distress, we can do what David did and call upon the Lord our God.
He will save and deliver us out of our trouble. We can trust God to be our mighty Savior, even from those who are too strong for us.
Like David, we can say, “With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God, I can scale a wall…. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is a Rock (tzur) except our God?” (2 Samuel 22:30, 32)
When we are weary, wandering in a wilderness, faced with hard choices or even in the midst of a battle, we must remember that God is our Rock. He is our ever-present foundation and far bigger than the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Here in Israel, the circumstances loom large. We want to live in peace and security; nevertheless, we find ourselves on the defensive from ongoing missile attacks and facing a possible war with Iran.
Today, as Israel stands poised to protect herself from the nuclear threat that Iran poses, she also faces hostile Arab neighbors committed to her destruction and dark spiritual forces rising against her.
Please pray that the hearts of the secular and even religious Jewish people here will return to God—that Israel will look to the ONE God of Israel, our Rock, our refuge, our fortress and strong tower to save and deliver us from those who are determined to destroy us.
“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!” (2 Samuel 32:47)