It was predictable that the left would scoff at Glenn Beck’s call to fast and pray before the Nevada caucuses, but Christian writer Bill Cloud was dismayed to see some conservatives and a few others who identify as Christians mock and ridicule Beck as well.
To Cloud, there is only one thing that could explain this disdainful attitude – the spirit of Esau is rising up and permeating American culture.
“It was amazing to me that so many people who claim to be concerned about the welfare and the future of our country were so sarcastic and caustic concerning your appeal to fast,” Cloud told Beck during an appearance this week on the latter’s radio show. “And so as kind of an amateur historian and knowing the spiritual aspect of our country’s history, it just underscored what we talk about in the book.”
Cloud was referring to his newly published book, “Esau Rising: Ancient Adversaries and the War for America’s Soul.”
Esau, of course, was the brother of the biblical hero Jacob. Jacob and Esau struggled with each other in the womb and continued to struggle with each other throughout their lives.
“According to the Bible, it’s not just those two personalities that were at war with one another; it’s two different mindsets,” Cloud explained. “One that has a mind and heart for God, and one that has a mind and heart for itself.”
Cloud explained that Esau showed he only had a mind and heart for himself when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup. That infamous trade is a metaphor for what the United States is doing today, Cloud said.
“The point we try to make is that’s an example of selling what is sacred, or giving away what is sacred and holy, and in an American context [we’re giving away] our national heritage, that relationship with God and what the Founders believed in, what the framers founded this nation upon – giving it away for free education or for free health care or whatever their whims call for them to crave at that particular moment.”
Beck agreed with Cloud’s premise, but added his own interpretation.
“To me, it is selling our birthright, selling what is sacred not for a bowl of soup, but for a win,” Beck said. “A lot of people on the right are selling their soul because they want change, and the change they want is they finally want somebody to win.”
Beck wondered aloud how so many people who criticized his call to fasting and prayer could claim to be spiritual people. Cloud suggested maybe those “spiritual” people are really not that close to God.
“The only explanation I have is there are a lot of people who know about God, but relatively few, comparatively speaking, who know God, who have that intimacy, because I don’t see how anyone can read the same Bible I read and be violent and vicious in their response to a call for prayer,” he said.
Cloud further expounded upon the mindset of Esau.
“He wants what he wants, and he wants it now. And it doesn’t matter to him what he has to give away,” Cloud said. “He says, ‘What good is this birthright to me?’ However, when he realizes that he’s lost a blessing, that’s when he laments. He wants the stuff; he wants the blessings of liberty, if I can put it that way, but he doesn’t want to embrace the responsibility of the birthright that makes those blessings possible. And so because Jacob received those blessings, he hated him and stopped at nothing in an attempt to try to destroy him.”
Just as Esau hated the righteous Jacob, modern-day Americans with Esau’s mindset hate Christians who seek God’s help in times of trouble, according to Cloud.
“It’s not uncommon for these kinds of people to be so violent toward the people who uphold the tenets of Scripture, who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” he said. “To me, that’s evidence of the fact that, at least I believe, that we’re living in the last days. As I said, I’m not a politician and I’m not a political pundit; I’m a minister, and so I look at everything from a scriptural point of view, and it’s just this ancient conflict coming to bear in our day and time.”
Beck, who was grateful for an article Cloud wrote Tuesday defending his proposed fast, was impressed by Cloud’s analysis of the situation America is facing.
“I think this guy really gets it,” Beck said.