Satan: A Lion on a Leash

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32)

A Lion on a Leash

'Satan demanded to have you.' Think about these words for a moment. What do they indicate about Satan's freedom? 

No one demands what they can freely have. Between Satan's sift and Peter's faith stood an impenetrable barrier - God's sovereignty.  As with Job, Satan's freedom is limited by God's parameters. He prowls around like a roaring Lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), however he is a lion on a leash. He must have God's permission before he can bite.

Handed over but not Abandoned

This does not mean Satan's roar is an empty threat. God does unleash the beast. He did acquiesce to Satan's demand for Peter. Yet in handing him over, Peter was not abandoned. Jesus prayed for him. The handing over was not unto destruction. Yes, the experience would be unpleasant. Through it, Peter would turn away for a time. But Jesus prayed for Peter's faith not to fail. God would see to it that Satan would not succeed. Peter would turn again (note the when, not if). And when he did, he would not be the same old weak Peter. Instead, he would be a source of strength for others. Satan's sift, which he intended to use to separate Peter from his faith, would instead be used by God to remove the chaff from Peter's life.

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