Surrender in the Face of Sifting


Today we learn through Job and Peter to be focused on complete surrender to God in every area of life.  Drop the self-sufficiency and pride and humbly ask God to be the centre of your life no matter what you face.  He will lift you up.  He will steady your soul…

6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Job 1:6-12

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Luke 22:31-34

It is interesting to me that Satan comes with the angels before God.  There is a level of interaction and relationship in the celestial world which we cannot easily understand.  Why would God permit Satan’s audience with him if Satan had been cast out of heaven as an enemy of God?  This isn’t the only time the Lord interacts with Satan in the Bible.  In fact, we see a similar interaction in Luke 22 regarding Peter and Satan’s request to sift him like wheat.

We may not like the sounds of this, yet Satan is, at some level of frequency, asking God to have access to test and tempt God’s children.  What if you’re next?  Or have you been in this situation? It would be dangerous to attribute your struggle or trial as Satan’s attack automatically, though… In my readings in Nahum recently I was reminded again that God uses even the most pronounced enemies of his people (Babylon in Nahum’s time) to deal with his children.  God may be the author of your circumstance.  And we wouldn’t want to give Satan credit for God’s handiwork, would we?

We see Job and Peter in similar situations, yet there are differences.  Job was blessed by God and had a very humble and reverent heart.  Peter was cocky and bullish in his faith and his commitment to the Lord.  Under testing, Job continued to praise God.  Under testing, Peter folded like a cheap tent.

How would you fare?

How about this: instead of looking to attribute (read blame) our testing to Satan or other people or even God, maybe we should be focused on complete surrender to God in terms of our success, failure, progress, status, and contentment in life.

If there is a trial of Job or Peter proportions coming our way, the closer we can be to God in our reliance on him instead of our reliance on self, the better off we will be in our response to our testing.  And just lose the pridefulness. Don’t say you’re a Job or that you won’t respond like Peter, or anything of the sort.  Drop all that and humbly ask God to be the centre of your life no matter what you face.

He will lift you up.  He will steady your soul.  He will be your Lord and Shepherd through all things…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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