Rebuking the Devil: Going Where Angels Fear To Tread!

rebuking demonsI was in a church meeting some years ago when I first heard it! A preacher was praying at the altar and I heard him saying: “Satan, we rebuke you! Go back to the pits of Hell!” I didn’t think much of it then because I had heard that and similar expressions many times before. I’ve heard people rebuking devils, demons, sicknesses and diseases! I’ve even heard them rebuking “the lying spirit” and “the spirit of alcohol” most of my life!

It wasn’t until I began to really grow in faith and study the Bible in earnest that I began to question some of the age-old practices and sayings that I had seen and heard around the church nearly all of my life. Do we really have the power? Have we been given the authority to rebuke the devil?

I did a topical study of “rebuke” in the Bible and I found cases of people rebuking other people, even Peter (ignorantly) rebuked Jesus! (Matthew 16:22) The Bible instructs us to publicly rebuke “them that sin before all, that others also may fear.” (1Timothy 5:20) In Matthew 8:26, we see Jesus rebuking the wind and the waves and there was a great calm! On other occasions; Jesus rebuked his disciples and unclean spirits. In Philippians 2:14-15, Paul wrote to the church: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” In giving his young protege: Timothy pastoral advice, Paul encouraged him to: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” Paul warned Timothy not to rebuke an elder (an older person), but rather to entreat him like a father!

These are just a few of the many references I found on the topic of rebuke. But much to my surprise, in spite of the many prayers and prophetic announcement I’ve heard; I couldn’t find a single reference in the Bible that even suggested that we have the power and/or the authority to rebuke the devil! In fact, I found only two occurrences in the Bible in which the devil was directly rebuked. In Zachariah 3:1 and Jude 9, the devil is rebuked! However, it must be noted that in both of these cases, it was the Lord who was called upon to rebuke the devil! In fact Jude seems to suggest that people who rebuke the devil are really not as spiritual as they would like for people to think they are! Jude seems to suggest for a person to rebuke the devil is an over-stepping of authority for even the Arch-Angel Michael did not directly rebuke the devil, but rather said: “The Lord rebuke you!” Therefore these two texts would seem to suggest that rebuking the devil is an act that only the Lord has the power and authority to do!

Hence, we should be very careful about this, for in rebuking the devil, we go into an area where even angels fear to tread! Just because someone may say it in a prayer or in a “prophetic utterance” that doesn’t mean it’s valid or is anything more than just empty pompous words! Yes! It would do well for any to be extremely careful in this area, lest they end up like the seven sons of Sceva. Note this story from Acts 19:11-16: “And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (ESV)

We would do well to study the word carefully on this subject! I don’t think that we (Christians) have been given the power or authority to rebuke the devil and that’s OK because we really don’t need it! The devil is already a defeated foe! The only direct command we have in dealing with the devil is not to rebuke him, but rather to resist him! We don’t have the power to bind him, all we need to do is just resist him! The Bible says in James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (ESV) That’s the formula for putting the devil at bay in your life! Submit to God and resist the devil and he will be gone . . . for a while!

Do Black Lives Matter. . . Only When?

black lives matterFirst, let me preface my statement by saying I protest and detest the recent killing of Black unarmed young men by police officers in Ferguson, MO, New York City, and other places where these acts of excessive deadly force have occurred! I am in no way protesting the protests! But I am curious as to why there are so many protest against these violent acts by the police and yet so few protests against the common every-day-violence perpetrated by young Black men against other young Black men and women in Black communities across the country on a daily basis. It seems to me the subliminal message is: “Black lives matter . . . but only when taken by White police officers!”

It could very well be that the Black community has told White America by its apathetic stand on violence within the Black community that it is OK for Black people to kill Blacks but not for White people to kill Blacks! Until Black people have the same level of respect for a Black life taken in the Black community by another Black person as exemplified in the recent demonstrations, there is a double standard. It’s like the use of the n-word. In most neighborhoods, it’s alright for Blacks to use the word in reference to one another, but it is an atrociously racist word, falling from the lips of a White person! It’s like saying: “It’s OK for us to disrespect us; but it is not OK for you to disrespect us!” We’ve got to find a way to move beyond the hues of skin-tone and understand that all lives matter! The Black skin and the White skin are just coverings; all blood is red and the essential essence of every life is immaterial spirit. Every life has purpose and when that life is prematurely ended, especially by an act of violence, it is a degrading detraction from all of humanity!

A few hours prior to writing this post, I was moved tears after reading an account of a young man who was murdered trying to protect his mother from a home invader! This young man was a middle school scholar with a bright future ahead of him! But his life was viciously snuffed out by someone with a set of morals that deems it OK to rob and steal instead of working!

I know the situation in the Black community is varied and complicated and there are no easy answers. There are social and economic factors that breed a sense of hopelessness and helplessness that seems to pervade many inner-city ghettos. But, we’ve got to find a way! Smoking dope, getting high, getting laid, and shaking our butts, do nothing to solve the real problems! We need the help of the Higher Power for the wisdom and the resolve to deal with the real issues. Not only do we need the help of God, we need every life to make the contribution it was created and born to make! Every life is a minute expression of divinity! Every life has a destiny to fulfill and a contribution to make! Therefore the taking of any life in acts of violence is an assault against God and all of humanity!

So our protest and outrage shouldn’t be confined to the killing of young Black men by White police officers! We should protest, every time a mother has to bury her son because of a drug-deal gone bad! We should protest every time an innocent bystander is killed in a drive-by shooting! We should protest every time a young woman is killed in a domestic dispute by her boyfriend or husband! We should protest every time a gang-banger is killed by another gang-banger!

Yes! Black lives do matter, even when they are not taken by White police officers! Black lives matter! White lives matter! Yellow lives matter! Red lives matter! Green life matters! All life matters! The taking of any life in any unlawful and violent circumstance is reason to protest!

The Preachers of L. A.

preacher of laSomeone asked me recently what I thought about the reality television show: The Preachers of L. A. I don’t quite remember exactly what I told them, but I do remember my reaction the one and only time I saw the show! At first, I found it, hurtful, scandalous, degrading and irreverent! But, then I thought about it and the more I think about it, the more I understand what’s really going on with that show!

First of all, it is “reality TV!” The phrase; “reality TV” is really an oxymoron! I mean, think about it! How can any reality show on TV be an actual real representation of reality? In the real world, much of the mundane and boring day-to-day activities of everyday life would not be very entertaining to watch. Therefore, most of what is presented in any reality series is “staged” in order to make it entertaining. And to the extent that it is staged, it is not really real! Much of what happens on the Preachers of L. A., or any other reality series is “staged” for entertaining purposes. Why? Because of ratings!

I’ve heard that some of the preachers on the show say they do it because they want people to know that preachers are human just like everybody else. Well, according to the Bible I read (Their Bible might be a different book) the ministry is a sacred calling! The preacher is human, but the preacher is NOT just like everybody else! The true preacher has a calling from God that calls them to be “apart” (separated) from the world; not a part of the world!

Personally, I think this show is just another attempt to make a mockery of the church in order to weaken its testimony and witness! And by no means is the show an accurate portrayal of the life of most preachers and pastors of Los Angeles or anywhere else in America! But who would want to watch a preacher spend 16 to 20 hours a week in study and preparation for a 30 to 45-minute sermon on Sunday morning? That would make “boring” TV! Who would want to watch a preacher spend hours each day on bending knees seeking the face of God? That would make boring TV! Who would want to watch a preacher driving from hospital to hospital, nursing home to nursing home, funeral home to funeral home to sit, counsel, and console those in need? That would make boring TV!

The Preachers of L.A. may be good entertainment for some, but as for me, I think there are more important things that warrant my attention than watching that show! But, who am I? They are on TV and they are the preachers of L. A! I’m not on TV; I’m just one of the preachers of Covington, GA!