“. . . Satan has desired thee, that he might sift you like wheat. . .”
If you have a very vivid imagination, here’s a really great place to use it!
Have you watched documentaries on Discovery Channel showing the procedure people in primitive cultures use to separate grain from the husks that house it? You’ve probably seen some nearly nude native sitting with a large hand- hewn bowl perched between her legs, using a stone or some crude tool crushing, pounding, pummeling the grain and separating it from its cover. Then tossing it into the air as the wind catches the chaff and carries it away and she deftly catches the remaining grain. The process is repeated until the outer encasement is removed and all that remains is the grain which can be used to make flour to make their daily bread.
You can see that, can’t you!? Jesus knew you’d be able to visualize the image when he used it. Even though we’ve gotten to the place where we are highly mechanized, the grain still has to be separated from the chaff. It’s a more sophisticated process, but with the same result. The image Jesus used is more visual, much more picturesque, in my opinion.
In the figure of speech Jesus employed, we understand that the grain can’t “feel” what its like to be sifted. But YOU can. Peter got the picture. To take the analogy in just a little different direction, did you ever get involved in a game of “beach blanket bingo?” Now, that’s a trip! Can you imagine how awkward and out of place anyone would feel being tossed, and turned while everyone else is hollering, howling, laughing and having themselves a high ole time!?
With little effort, I’m sure you can identify with a situation like this and imagine what it’s like for a person to be tossed. Sifted. Absolutely, utterly confused. Jesus is trying to get Peter to understand something of what he’s going to be facing as the crisis of the mock trial and the impending crucifixion hurtles toward him at the speed of light. Before the sun rises at dawn on this day, he will be as tossed as if he were in a clothes dryer! By way of comparison he’d welcome a nice, comfortable rinse cycle on your washing machine by the time the ordeal of the next few days ends.
I got the impression that Satan “desired” Peter (and you and me) first just to toy with him. “Mess with his mind.” Annoy and eventually destroy him, taking down as many people as he could using Peter’s example and influence.
Have you ever felt as if you were being “sifted.”? Tossed and turned? Ever felt that you didn’t know which way to go? What to do? Which end was up? How to get out of an incredibly frightening ordeal? Did you ever search frantically for the “panic” button or the eject switch? If you haven’t had such an experience, don’t be disappointed. Times will come when you will be. And chances are, someone near you right now is being “sifted.” A prayer for them, or a word of encouragement from you, may be just the thing they need to recover their spiritual equilibrium.
A couple of points I’d like to make before we move on: the Bible teaches that Satan is the author of confusion. God has NOTHING to do with that, but He can and will use it productively if you let Him. God fosters “a spirit of love, hope, and a sound mind.” If you feel as if you’re being sifted, at least a part of the solution to that problem is recognizing what it is and who or what is causing it. At first, Satan may just be “having a little fun.” Messing with you like a toy. Like a cat who’s caught a little canary. That is, though, only the beginning, and if left unchallenged your ultimate ruin will be the result of his “sifting.” And you and I are more helpless against his “sifting” than the chaff is against the wind.
If this sentence were to end here with a period, I hate to contemplate the results. If evil is allowed to run its course, unchecked, to its ultimate logical outcome, we’re in a battle we can never win! Helpless. Hopeless. Defenseless. Defeated. Terrorized perhaps! Neither one nor all of these adjectives combined can describe our dilemma. Nor are there words in our language or any other which can draw a realistic picture of what is at stake and what we stand to lose.
IF. That’s a key word here. And there’s another. Please go back to the Scripture we’ve been considering and look at it carefully. Pray about it a bit. Don your thinking cap! If you think the matter ends here, be prepared for a big surprise!
Post Script: While this has been very enjoyable and profitable for me, it’s also provided occasions for me to LOL (That’s insider geek speak for “laugh out loud”) at myself. Navigating the internet is definitely not my strong point. So when someone asks questions about that aspect of what I’m doing, my standard response is “Duh!” I do know, though, there are “thingies” on the right side of the screen that you can click on and they’ll take you back to the beginning. ABOUT does that magic trick. Also, along the right margin, you’ll find some comments made by kind folks who’ve visited and offered helpful suggestions or insights. All you need to do is take that little “cursor” and let it hover over what you want to see. Then click it. Up top, you will see my personal information if you care to call or respond by mail. I value your trust and will try never to abuse or betray it.
A servant, donkimrey