“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.
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.”
Last week, I was putting some training to use with the Psalms & two things from Psalm 17:6-9 caught my attention: verse 6 says “incline your ear to me,” and verse 8 says, “keep me as the apple of your eye.” One thing I have been learning from studying inductively is that there is usually (not always, but usually) something more to it. So I asked myself:
“Self, what does it mean to be inclined to something?”
I could recall how both phrases are used in modern times, but what did they mean when David wrote them? What is an eye apple anyway? (It is kind of like the saying “cute as a button.” What does that really mean?)
Lets start with inclined this week, since it comes first. The Hebrew word for incline is natah (naw-taw) which means “to stretch or spread out. To bend away from.” David was simply asking God to hear him: “Lord, stretch your ear to me. Hear me God.” When I first read the second half of the definition – “to bend away from” – it sounded contradicting. However, it doesn’t mean to bend from the noise, but to bend the ear away from the body toward the noise, or in this case, toward David’s outcry. Look at what some of the other psalms say:
“Let my prayer come before you, incline your ear to my cry!”
“Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly; Be to me a rock of strength, a stronghold to save me.”
“In Your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; Incline Your ear to me and save me.”
These type of prayers go on & on through Psalms. David is crying out to God & asking God to stretch out toward him, to hear his prayer, to rescue him. It sounds so formal, but it is actually quite beautiful & heartfelt. It also shows us the closeness David felt with the Lord. He wasn’t just saying “Hey, God, do you hear me?” He was saying, “My Lord come closer, hear me Lord.” Shouldn’t we all be so blessed to have such a tender relationship with our Father?