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Space travelers may look across the cosmos and consider that dangers lurk everywhere - but in most cases I doubt they would look at the celestial bodies themselves as preparing to strike out.
This verse may strike us with its poetic promise of protection FROM the Sun and Moon as an odd turn of phrase - what kind of protection do we need from the sun AND the moon? Certainly the sun has power - from sunstrokes to cancer, we have no trouble thinking of what we need to be protected from there. But the moon?
Considering this verse, a number of commentators point out that there are long held beliefs tieing the moon (luna) to madness - to luna-cy. In fact the Greek word, used in Matthew for epileptic is seleniazomai means MOON-struck.
Another points out that - considering ancient (and modern) followers of astrology, this may refer to insulation from the supposed influences of the heavenly bodies. And certainly, these ideas may be part of the meaning.
But I'd rather point to the first time we encounter the moon and the sun in the Scriptures. We read
For God made two great lights, the sun and the moon, to shine down upon the earth. The greater one, the sun, presides during the day; the lesser one, the moon, presides through the night. (Gen 1:16NLT)The Klingon words here are pemHov and maS - "daytime star" and moon - and here on earth, those two, well, from the beginning of time, are at the heart of our clocks and calendars - all the measures of time.
In this life, we find our lives ruled by time. We sleep, we go to school or work, we come home, we eat, we play - all in time. And OVER time our powers, our moods - everything that makes up our SELF - all those things ebb and flow through TIME. As we age, time sees us grow stronger, and weaker.
By these two we mark the days, mark the seasons, and we live through the pilgrimage of life - but the believer can have confidence that - despite the outer toll time takes
There's a love song that says "night and day, you are the one." With those words, Cole Porter say "ALWAYS." Here in this Psalm, in this verse we get the same message. All day, all night - through all time - God extends his protective care over us.
I know that isn't always an easy promise to grasp. The believer may not always feel that protection is present. Through trials and struggles, we may wonder - how can we claim this protection?
For me the key is this - we're not destined to remain IN time forever. The reason the moon, and the sun - those greater rulers of time - cannot in the long run touch us, is WE DON'T BELONG TO THEIR REALMS. As St. Paul writes
being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil 1.6)
Our confidence, our hope is that despite the setbacks we might experience today or tomorrow - GOD ISN'T FINISHED. Our goal, our delight will be seen when we finally step outside of time and he completes in us, the good work he has begun. Till then take hope,