Gracious Father, I come boldly and humbly before your throne of grace Father, first to tell you thank you. I thank you Father for life, health and strength. I thank you Father for another day to worship you. I thank you Father for all that you have done and all that you will do in my life. I thank you for my family and friends. I thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed on such a wretch like me. I pray Father, that the blessings you gave me, you give also to all of your children who love and adhere to your word. I pray a blessing of peace wherever they are. I pray that you set the atmosphere for them to read and meditate on this word this morning. I pray that all imagination that is not of you is cast down and put under subjection by the power of your Holy Spirit that dwells in them. I pray that your word is highly considered and practice daily Father. I pray Father, that it not only resonate with them Father, but that they feel the urge to share it. Father we honor and love you. We lift your name up in praise. And Father, we acknowledge that we are nothing without you, and pray that you cover us and deliver us from the evil one. We pray that you also forgive us of any trespasses committed, whether by thought, speech, or deed. This we pray in the matchless name of your son Jesus, Amen.
Growing up in the city made me ignorant to many things. Take for instance farming. It is the work of a farmer why a city boy like me was able to just go to the supermarket and fill my refrigerator with produce and dairy products. We are more advance now, and I am sure that the labor of a farmer is far less than that of biblical times. Have you ever wondered how they gathered wheat to make bread? In order to get wheat to a point where it can be used it had to first be sifted.
The first step in the process of sifting wheat is to loosen the chaff from the edible grain, which is called threshing. The old fashioned way to do this is to spread the wheat onto a floor made from stone, concrete or tamped earth and to beat it with a flail. The next step is called winnowing, where the loosened chaff is removed from the grain. The old fashioned way of doing this was to throw the grain in the air, where the lighter chaff would be blown off by a decent breeze. The heavier grains would fall back to the ground below where they were thrown. Wow! Sifting back then was hard work. Can you imagine the violent manner in how the wheat was beaten? In essence, sifting wheat back then was a rigorous process.
In the 22nd chapter of Luke, Jesus was meeting with his disciples and had shared that the time has come when he was going to be betrayed by one of them. When the disciples heard this, the bible states “Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing. Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.” (Lu 22:23-24) Here you have Jesus spending his last hours with his beloved disciples and some of them are more concerned with title. They were not focused. They were attempting to satisfy flesh. The chief one had to be addressed by Jesus, because he knew not what awaited him if he continues. The bible states “And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (Lu 22:31) Theologian Adam Clark said “When a name is thus repeated in the sacred writings, it appears to be always intended as an expression of love, manifested by a warning voice.”
Peter was arrogant (Mark 8:31-33). Peter was self confident (Mark 14:26-29). Peter was impulsive (Jn 18:10). Peter was at times all talk but no action (Jn 18:17, 25, 27). We at times can express similar traits and other times even worst. We have a good job, and feel no one can tell us anything. We have a big house, expensive cars, booming business, deep pockets, and feel we are on top of the world. We feel we do not need God. We put God on the back burner. We express a gratuitous display of self confidence, and it is these exact same behaviors that has the devil salivating for our lives. Jesus warned Peter because unknowing to him, the devil wanted to pick him apart. He wanted to toss him to and fro. He wanted to see if Peter can live up to all that he claimed to be. He wanted to sift him until there was nothing left. Why did Jesus use the example “sift you as wheat?” Do you remember the example of how farmers sifted? Can you picture the violent nature of the process? That is how the devil would handle those who behaved like Peter did. All that you have will be removed one by one. Part of your sift can be your wife/husband leaving. Part of your sift can be termination from your job. Part of your sift will be family and friends disowning you. Part of your sift can be a foreclosed home. Part of your sift can be bank accounts seized. And when there is nothing left, the devil will persuade you to not pray. To not seek God’s face. To stay as far away from God until you die, or commit suicide so that there is no salvation for you. This is what awaited Peter, and this is what awaits you if are not mindful.
The bible states “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1Co 10:12) That is true talk. Don’t be distracted by false accomplishments. Do not allow your achievements to make you overly confident. Do not allow your present success determine your future. It can be gone tomorrow. Both God and the devil is watching, and the devil is patiently waiting for his chance to sift you like wheat. I pray that you do not let him. Amen!