Simon, Simon (said Jesus), Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. Luke 22:31 (NIV)
The idea of Satan proactively asking Jesus about a particular person, with the intent that they be separated as wheat from chaff, is disturbing, to say the least.
A different version of this verse reads:
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat. (NASB)
The King James version reads,
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.
Desired? Humph. I’m not fooled. Married 28+ years now, I know what it means to be rightly desired, and this isn’t the same. The root of its meaning here refers to a lustful coveting with a desire for one’s destruction.
The issue is… Satan. Has. Asked.
Ban the book of Job, it was Jesus who first prodded Satan with the question,
“Have you considered my servant Job?” Job 1:8a
…to which I gasp, take a few stumbled steps backward, and gulp past the boulder in my throat.
Satan is an angry cuss who knows his time here on earth is short.
He’s wild and raging with anger;
he hasn’t much time and he knows it.
Revelation 12:12b (The Message)
The Message version of this verse brings to mind that silly song…“
‘If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands…’
Only Satan would rally his minions and sing…
“If you’re destructive and you know it, ask to sift.
If you’re destructive and you know it, ask to sift…”
Given his limited time to wreak havoc, it makes sense Satan would choose to request sifting privileges for those who are of greatest threat.
Is my life – outwardly and inwardly – glorifying God in such a way that Satan would bother to inquire of me?
I’d like to think the answer is ‘yes’, though I shudder to imagine the dialogue between God and Satan.
Satan has asked. At this, I am both disturbed and grateful…
Disturbed at the idea of Satan turning his speculative gaze away from one individual and lasering it on me, but also grateful he has no authority to harm without permission.
And Jesus prays for me.
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. Luke 22:32a
Given the spiritual battles I fight day after day, Jesus’ prayer for fortified faith is huge!
So, Satan, ask away. My faith won’t fail.
But better hussle.
Tick, tick, tick.
You’re time is short.
What’s your response to the fact that Satan asks about you? How does knowing Jesus prays for you to be strong fortify your faith walk?