And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them. Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ And I will surely hide my face in that day because of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods. – Deuteronomy 31:16-18.
“And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me” (Daniel 4:34–36, NKJV).
I selected the above two passages from the Old Testament to illustrate the cursing of faithlessness and the blessing of repenting of faithlessness. The human ego, whatever it is, may be the generator of the sin of pride, or it might not even exist, but pride remains. It really doesn’t matter, because almost every human being appears to be driven to exalt self and forget or be ignorant of their creator. As the passage from Deuteronomy clearly shows, Israel forgot or ignored all the great miracles their Lord did and the great blessings He bestowed, in “whoring after foreign gods.” They were chosen by the Lord’s sovereign will, obviously through no merit of their own. Like the people of the United States, they, and we, are whores after anything that exalts us in our own eyes. That’s why they, and we, can ignore God, because we cannot feel exalted in the presence of a being who is inconceivably more powerful and righteous than we are, and who made us out of the “dust of the earth “.
Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful king on earth in his time, Babylon was the most magnificent city, he was surrounded by sycophants, and his pride puffed him up. One night he had a frightening dream, and only the Hebrew prophet Daniel could interpret the dream. He told Nebuchadnezzar that his pride was about to be his undoing, that soon The God of Heaven would humble his pride by taking away his human reason, giving him the mind of an animal, and that for a time he would crawl rather than walk, and eat grass. Daniel warned him to forsake his pride before it was too late. Nebuchadnezzar quickly forgot the dream and the warning. “All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, ‘Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?’ While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you’, “- Daniel 4:28-31.
Nebuchadnezzar repented of his faithlessness when his reason returned. Stephen Hawking died recently. Hawking, whose life was chronicled in the 2014 film “The Theory of Everything,” had battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – aka ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease – for more than five decades. Scientists, public figures and celebrities, including astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and pop singer Katy Perry, flocked to social media to pay tribute to Hawking. I guess that means he was a genius, I mean Neil deGrasse Tyson and Katy Perry! He also rejected God and creation, having put it memorably: “The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate size planet.” Faithlessness trumps genius.