A bit of scripture that has been so valuable and profound to me is written in the book of Jude,
“But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these men revile the things which they do not understand…”
I have worn that one piece of scripture right off the page. God has spoken to me of it so often and in ways I still do not fully understand to this day. However, I have faithfully applied it to my life and learned a few things.
First of all Michael is an angel, a warrior, exceedingly powerful, as in his mere appearance is often proceeded by a “fear not,” so whomever he is addressing does not faint or flee in terror. The point being, Michael is not a cherub or one of those gentle Hallmark figurines. He is incredibly powerful…. and yet not even he will rebuke the devil.
There are a couple of reasons why this may be so. The first is so that we always remember whose authority we are under. The Lord rebuke you, not I. God fights the enemy on our behalf. The moment we think we ourselves alone have that power, we are toast. We have forgotten the cross and Who we serve. We are now encased in pride and as a result, we over estimate our abilities, we misappropriate our power, and we make a mess of it.
Without the cross and God standing right behind us, we have no authority, no power, and we are pretty much just toast. We simply do not have the power to pronounce a railing judgment or to rebuke the devil. If we had, Jesus Christ Himself would not have had to go to the cross for us.
This has played out in my life a few times because I seldom deal with little things, but rather huge problems that are so much bigger and badder than me. Many times I have had to lean into Christ or even to stand behind Him, because there is no way I can fight these battles alone. I can however, do all things through Christ who strengthens me. With Him standing right behind me, I become a lot tougher than I actually am.
Another reason why Michael does not “dare pronounce against him a railing judgment,” is because we must be careful not to become the enemy we despise. When we allow too much darkness in, when we are filled with thoughts of revenge, when we hate, rage, we hurt our own selves. We rot our own souls. The Lord rebuke you, not I. I cannot afford to let condemnation and judgment wash over me. I am washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.
I have learned this lesson a few times, too. What we dislike in others are often things we dislike in our own selves. Before we point fingers at anyone, we must make sure there are not 3 more pointing back at us. Let unforgiveness and hatred fill your heart and you will become the thing you rail against. You also lose all moral authority.
There has been a series of Christian movies that have given me pause, and some books, and some words, all along the lines of being prayer warriors and rebuking the devil. I love prayer warriors, that is awesome, and I love the designated authority that allows us to say, may the Lord rebuke you. However, I grow concerned when people believe they have the power to rebuke the devil himself, because that is a good way to get oneself into a real mess. Don’t ever engage the enemy unless you have God standing right behind you, granting His full authority.
The enemy is not a cockroach scurrying across the floor or some harsh words from a neighbor, he was once an angel like Michael. If an angel who has our best interests at heart can scare the heck out of us, imagine what one who hates us is like.
People, even former atheists, who have had a close encounter with the enemy do not report bravely standing there railing against him, they instantly fall on their face and cry out to the Lord. That is compulsive, instinctual, and has brought more than a few people to Jesus Christ Himself.
The bible repeats this lesson a few times. 2 Peter 2:11 says, “Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.”