Then the Lord said, “Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to have you to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have repented, strengthen your brothers.”Luke 22:31–32 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
In just a quick perusal today, I encountered this. Sometimes when thinking of other things, and they are set aside, a quick glance at Scripture will provide some insight. I think it rather poignant, too. That is, given the posts of late centering on Peter’s first epistle.
Anyway… It was a discussion on Job one night. Someone had made a remark that God gave permission to Satan to test Job. I shook my head in a clear way to acknowledge that it wasn’t true. The person making the assertion insisted it was true. Let’s see if it is.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Adversary also came among them. And the Lord said to the Adversary, “From where have you come?”Job 1:6–8 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Then the Adversary answered the Lord, saying, “From roaming on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
And the Lord said to the Adversary, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and an upright man, who fears God, and avoids evil?”
Sometimes our English translations don’t transmit the entirety of thought. In some translations, there are translators’ notes. These are included to help understand what is being conveyed. In this case, it would be easy to think the Adversary was just casually walking around looking at things. Not only that, but it one might think it was God Who would bring up the idea of testing Job to the Adversary.
That’s not what’s there. The Hebrew phrase translated have you considered literally means have you set your heart to my servant Job.
It’s like the Adversary is demanding some sort of right. Go back to what Jesus said to Peter. Satan is demanding to sift you. The Adversary demands his rights.
Furthermore, Jesus didn’t give permission to Satan. Satan was demanding what was rightfully his. Jesus prayed for Peter to not succumb to the test. That’s simply because we really are no match for the enemy. Jesus knew that. He is our Advocate. He intercedes for us.
Look what He said to Peter next, “And when you have repented, strengthen your brothers.”
We are no match for the enemy. He may have rights, but he also has boundaries and cannot exceed those.
Then the Adversary answered the Lord, saying, “Has Job feared God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.”Job 1:9–11— Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
You might think it weird how the Adversary demands that God bring calamity to Job. It didn’t happen. But what follows is God saying to the Adversary, you have rights to all that is his.
That comes from the fall. Satan wrested dominion of the creation from the one it was given to, Adam. Therefore, all that Job had was part of the fallen world to which the Adversary has rights. Since the cross, those rights are in the process of being revoked permanently.
Jesus told Peter. “And when you have repented.” He was telling Peter of the victory that Jesus would finish shortly. A remedy for Peter falling prey.
Don’t give in to the idea that God has to give permission to the Adversary for him to bother you. He has rights. When we are in sin, that is where he works. But there is a way out of the rights he has.
And when you have repented….