“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22:31, 32)
This conversation between our Lord and Peter is just before the Cross. Jesus warns him and encourages him in the same time. ‘Satan has asked for you…’ Satan, the accuser of the brethren has asked for permission to ‘sift’ Peter. Interestingly, that permission was granted by God. The word ‘asked’ is a strong word meaning ‘insisting, demanding to come for trial’. This reminds us that the devil is a personality and not just an ‘evil influence’. Here we see that some of the devil’s wicked desires are granted to him by God. In particular, the devil shall enjoy sifting the believers. But the process of sifting shall give glory to God at the end. To sift it means to violently shake something with the intent to separate the components. In particular, sifting wheat means to shake the grains until both chaff and impurities go away and only the good grain remains.
This is a great revelation: the devil is allowed by God to shake, to sift, nations and people. In the following verse the devil is called ‘the man’: “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms; who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?” (Is 14:16, 17)
Peter boasted of eternal love for Jesus but he did not know his weakness and he was ignorant of his fears. The sifting shall remove all fleshly empty boasting, religious worship and flattery praises. The fleshly things shall be shaken and fall but the eternal things of the Kingdom shall remain. This is the promise of God: “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Heb 12:26, 27). The faith of the believers shall be purified and become like gold that passes thru fire. Maturity and strength shall be the result of shaking and sifting.
At the Cross, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace and the Desired of the Nations, completely destroys the power of the devil and ends the sifting. No man can stop the process of ‘sifting’ except our Lord Jesus Christ and His intercession. Behind the devil our Lord is the One who supervises and limits the loss. Jesus winnows His grain. “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Mt 3:12). This is the promise of our eternal High Priest, that during all trials His prayer shall sustain us and His grace shall be sufficient to carry on. ‘I have prayed for you…” Say it to yourself: “Jesus Christ prays for me, right now!” That is all I need to know right now!
The devil wants to destroy your faith but Jesus says that your faith shall not fail. The devil wants you to backslide but Jesus says that no one of His sheep shall be lost. The devil wants to destroy the unity of the Spirit in the Church and in your marriage. But the end of such a trial of fire is joyful strength that shall be a testimony to the other brethren. I encourage you to look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith! Kings and kingdoms shall pass away, but there is something about Your name…JESUS…“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38, 39)
The road may have been long and difficult but your future is better than anything you have imagined! The glory of Christ shall be revealed to the nations! The hearts of men shall be purified and they shall see the Lord! The weeping shall be replaced with rejoicing! The weak shall be strong and the poor shall be rich! There is a turning of the tables! The praises shall increase! The church shall be stronger! Your marriage shall be sweeter! Great shall be your children’ peace! May Christ glorify Himself in your life today!