Glenn Beck teaches us it’s not our fault…

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain,
or if I command the locust to devour the land,
or if I send pestilence among My people,
and My people who are called by My name humble themselves
and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin
and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? – 1 Peter 4:17

Everywhere in Scripture we see the truth that wicked men are not the principal actors who cause difficulty, struggle, and disaster for God’s people, but that God Himself sends such times to turn His people back to Him. (See for example the testimony of David1, Hosea2, the author of Judges3, Amos4, Ezra5, Nehemiah6, Isaiah7, and Daniel8.)

We see the general principle in Amos 3:6:

If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble?
If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?

In the New Testament, the Apostle Peter, concluding his first epistle, which is about suffering, attributes our suffering not to the wickedness of wicked men; but he says by the Holy Spirit that these things come to us from the hand of God:

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you at the proper time… – 1 Peter 5:6

And the author of Hebrews takes a whole chapter (Hebrews 12) to exhort us to endure hardship as God’s discipline and to warn of the peril of refusing that discipline.

So what does all of this have to do with Glenn Beck?

Glenn Beck

Everywhere you look today, there is pressure from the world to be ashamed of things that aren’t shameful, and to glory in things that are shameful. Glenn Beck is a champion of saying, “No, that thing they’re celebrating is wrong, and this thing over here that they’re denouncing, there’s nothing wrong with it.” This is helpful and encouraging as far as it goes–it’s rightly comforting to hear a man call a spade a spade. In other words, at his best Beck tells the truth.

But there is a subtext that runs through Beck’s message. It goes something like this:

The present oppression and difficulties our nation is laboring under–and the disaster we see on the horizon if things don’t change–are their fault! They (i.e. the bad guys out there) are the sinners! They are messing us up! They need to repent!

It may be true, and certainly is, that these men need to repent–but that is not the message we need to hear. The great danger in our land is not from the bad guys–not even close. The great danger is that we who are called by Christ’s name would continue in our blindness to our sin and in our blindness to the fact that it is God who has sent these oppressors because of our sin; that we would continue in our refusal to see the justice of God’s sending us these oppressors; that we would continue to refuse to humble ourselves under the hand of God and repent9; and that, like our fathers, we would be rejected and destroyed10 along with our children11.

Beck’s subtext, teaching us that it’s not our fault, comes across much more powerfully than the true analysis Beck gives, and completely overshadows it. This subtext is Beck’s message.

Dear ones, beware Beck’s siren song calling you away from the repentance that is our salvation12.

 


Footnotes


1. The testimony of David:

“For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” –Psalm 32:4


2. The testimony of Hosea:

“Come, let us return to the LORD.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.” – Hosea 6:1


3. The testimony of the author of Judges:

All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals, and they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the LORD to anger. So they forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had spoken and as the LORD had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed. Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges…
So the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers and has not listened to My voice, I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.” So the LORD allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua. – Judges 2:10-17, 20-23


4. The testimony of Amos:

“But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities
And lack of bread in all your places, [Famine from the Lord]
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.
“Furthermore, I withheld the rain from you… [Drought from the Lord]
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.
I smote you with scorching wind and mildew… [Bad weather from the Lord]
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.
I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt… [Plague from the Lord]
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.
I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; [Destruction from the Lord]
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.  –Amos 4:6-11


5. The testimony of Ezra:

But at the evening offering I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the LORD my God; and I said, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens. “Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this day…” – Ezra 9:5-7


6. The testimony of Nehemiah:

“Behold, we are slaves today,
And as to the land which You gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty,
Behold, we are slaves in it.
Its abundant produce is for the kings
Whom You have set over us because of our sins;
They also rule over our bodies
And over our cattle as they please,
So we are in great distress.” – Nehemiah 9:36-37


7. The testimony of Isaiah:
In Isaiah 10:5-19, God declares that when the godless Assyrians attacked Israel, it was God who sent them, though Assyria had no fear of God and thought it was by their own might that they acted:

“Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger
And the staff in whose hands is My indignation,
I send it against a godless nation
And commission it against the people of My fury
To capture booty and to seize plunder,
And to trample them down like mud in the streets.
Yet it does not so intend,
Nor does it plan so in its heart,
But rather it is its purpose to destroy
And to cut off many nations.
For it says, ‘Are not my princes all kings…?'” — Isaiah 10:5-8


8. The testimony of Daniel:

So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land. Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day–to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You….O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.” – Daniel 9:3-7, 18-19


9. The Lord says of the Old Testament,

Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. – 1Corinthians 10:6

And what happened when God’s people in the Old Testament refused to heed God’s discipline? They were rejected and destroyed. Not because of the merciless Assyrians. Not because of the unreliable Egyptians. Not because of the treacherous Edomites. Not because of the apostate Samaritans. But because the “good guys”–God’s people–refused to repent of their sins.


10. See Hebrews 12, which ends with these words:

See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.
For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth,
much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven…
for our God is a consuming fire. – Hebrews 12:25,29


11. Jesus declared this to others:

“…and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” – Luke 19:44

We should learn from their example.


12. Cf. Isaiah 30:15.

This entry was posted in current issues, false teaching, fear of God, honoring God's Word, humility, suffering. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.