The Guardian … What Is Moonstroke …

?God?s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you ? Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke.? (Psalm 121:5-6, The Message)

Psalm 121 is among what are called the ?Songs of Ascent? or ?Pilgrim Songs.? Annually Jews would make their way to Jerusalem and to the Temple. Songs were sung along the way to prepare for worship in the Temple. The same roads were traveled. The same scenery observed. However, this trip was different ? worship with the people of God in the place where God meets his people was the goal. An ordinary place was made extraordinary because of what would happen in that ordinary place.

We have an ordinary place for the people of God to gather ? the church to gather. It is made extra-ordinary based on what will occur in that space. How do you prepare throughout the week for worship with the people of God. I am still stewing over the phrase I read Sunday, ?as in “quiet time,” prepares me for the church community. Not only should we pray for ourselves, but we should pray that God will help us so that we can be better members of the church.?

Our journey or pilgrimage through life can create a variety of stresses ? the length of the journey, the mode of transportation, fatigue, anxiety. Eugene Peterson inserts the understanding of these pressures in his interpretive translation of Psalm 121 (above). God guards us from ?moonstroke.? Peterson writes, ?And a person traveling for a long distance on foot, under the pressures of fatigue and anxiety can become emotionally ill, which was described by ancient writers as moonstroke. The NIV simply states that God shields us from sun and moon. Certainly travelers in that day understood the stresses of the journey.

I am glad God is our Guardian ? shielding us from the obvious (sunstroke) and the subtle (moonstroke). As we gather together, let?s prepare for worship by spending time preparing ourselves for what it means to be in ?community? with the people of God.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

2 comments on “The Guardian … What Is Moonstroke …

  1. says:

    I just recently read that passage myself and from studying a little of the customs of that time I learned that many traveled at night and some would suffer the condition you described as moonstroke. Learning all you can about the customs and history of the early Scripture allows one to “keep the mine open’ so to speak.( I am commenting on your latest post here also) It allows us to understand scripture more fully. When we study scripture only to prove a position we hold then, we limit the revelation that God has for us in His word. ONE of the points about God protecting us from sunstroke and moonstroke is that God never leaves us. Ancient peoples slept with lamps burning because they feared darkness, it brought greater anxiety then than it does to us today. In light of this, we then can see how comforting a Psalm like this would be. The revelation that I spoke about comes through an overall reading of the scripture in the context of when and to whom it was written, and not a lifting and seperating as you have described it in earlier posts.

  2. mike bell says:

    It struck me today as I read the passage. I was quite unaware of such a thing in the natural, so I googled.Moon-Stroke & via a NASA link came to this, written in 1876.
    Top of page

    A clear sky admits of rapid radiation of heat from the surface of the earth, and any person exposed to such radiation is sure to be chilled by rapid loss of heat. There is reason to believe that, under the circumstances, paralysis of one side of the face is sometimes likely to occur from chill, as one side of the face is more likely to be exposed to rapid radiation, and consequent loss of its heat.

    I suppose it caught my attention more as I did have a mild stroke a few years back.
    Looking ahead and to spirit application. As the darkness grows…and with the devastating earthquake & tsunami prophecies affecting the US (& western europe to a lesser degree)even christians not abiding ‘in the sunshine of HIS love’ will be paralysed by the cold realities of not loving as HE loves.

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