Sunday, May 2, 2021

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - The Fate of Arrogance

One of my favorite pastimes is to read about technology and see how it benefits the human race as a whole. What I often find is that we, as a species, tend to develop things that can be used for good or for evil. If you take a look at most of our inventions, the use for good or evil is strictly determined by the desires of individuals. Nuclear power is an excellent example of this. Harnessing the power of the atom has given advances in power generation, transportation to the stars, a mode of power for submarines and warships, as well as medicine. On the other hand, the discovery of atomic power has also given us weapons and the capability of wiping out all life on the planet.

For all of these advances, the human race praises itself for being so clever for creating this new technology, but we fail to humble ourselves and accept the fact that we need to be good stewards of its use. Instead of working hard to prevent the misuse of technology for evil purposes, we continue to pat ourselves on the collective back and believe that no one would misuse the technology or that we have the power to stop its misuse. How often we are so wrong.

If you study the history of the items created for good, they have often been perverted into weapons of war. Another good example is insecticides that have been turned into nerve agents. Think about some of the early nerve agents that started out as insecticides that later became weapons used on the battlefield to kill other individuals. Other weapons, like the Gatling gun, were created so that wars wouldn’t be waged due to the horrific capabilities of the weapons.

Once again, an advance in technology with good intentions gets perverted and used as a weapon. Instead of stopping wars, the rapid-fire capability opened the door to more advances and increased the lethality of weapons. Once again, we, as a species, praise ourselves for being so clever in creating something that may one day be used to kill even more people.

Today, we are faced with something similar in the area of artificial intelligence. Nations are spending huge sums of money and dedicating reasons to create artificial intelligence with the goal of having those computers solve our most difficult problems that we face like faminine, disease or weather catastrophes. Couple those advances with similar advances in robotics and we have all the makings of a science fiction movie of robots coming to life to wreak havoc on the world.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not against advances in technology. The best and brightest minds came together and put humans on the moon. Advances in vaccines to prevent the spread of polio, smallpox and even COVID-19 have helped us enjoy a world that is one step closer to being disease-free. But, as we make these advances, the same technology could be used for evil purposes. We need to take a lesson from the Scriptures and understand that arrogance and being haughty leads only to downfall and destruction. If we fail to be humble and seek God’s guidance and His wisdom, we will soon find ourselves on the path to hell. Remember the old adage, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

In the first two chapters of the Book of First Samuel, a young woman, Hannah, goes to the Tabernacle and prays for a son. In her prayer, Hannah dedicates her son to God and to His service. Eli, the priest at the Tabernacle, observes her and thinks she is drunk. She is moving her lips in prayer and no sound is coming out. When Eli goes to check things out, Hannah tells him that she isn’t drunk and is praying out of anguish and sorrow and is pouring her heart out to the Lord. 

After hearing this, Eli tells her, “In that case, go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.

Hannah is delighted and goes her way. God grants her prayer and she is given a son, Samuel. True to her word, she goes back and dedicates her son to serve there at the Tabernacle.

In her prayer, Hannah says, “Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don’t speak with such arrogance! For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done; he will judge your actions. The bow of the mighty is now broken, and those who stumbled are now strong.

Later, Eli is visited by a man who gives him a message from the Lord. The Lord is displeased by the action of Eli’s sons who are also priests. They have abused their positions and have taken the best of the sacrifice made to the Lord for themselves. The stranger tells Eli that all the members of his family will die before their time and none will reach old age. The few that survive will be cursed with blindness, their hearts broken and their children will die violent deaths. The stranger goes on to tell him that the Lord will lift up one faithful priest to serve Him and establish that man’s family to be priests.

True to the words given by the stranger, Eli hears of the death of his sons and the loss of the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines. After hearing all of this news, Eli falls backward in his chair, breaks his neck and dies.

The reason I tell this story is that Eli’s sons felt that they were entitled to certain things and acted arrogantly. As priests, they held a respected position in society and could do whatever they wanted. They used their power to get whatever they wanted and thought that there would be no consequences to their actions. They felt that they had the world right where they wanted and that there would be no retribution to their actions. How they were wrong. Their pride and arrogance led them down a path of downfall and ultimate destruction.

When we, as a species, believe that we are so clever and that there will be no repercussions to our actions, pride and arrogance begin to guide our steps. We believe that we can get away with anything and everything. We can take what we want with impunity and not worry about the wrath of God. When we get to that point, we had better stop and think about the story of Samuel and Hannah’s prayer. We can return to God and humble ourselves and look to Him for guidance and wisdom. If we fail and continue down that road we have mapped out for ourselves, we will soon find ourselves being humbled by God. The glory that we once had will be stripped away and we will soon find ourselves wondering where the glory of our great civilization has gone.

It is my daily prayer that we realize that we cannot keep acting with impunity and remain arrogant and haughty before the Lord. Yes. We are very clever and have been given so much by the Lord. We are truly blessed as a nation and as a civilization. But, we are acting like spoiled children who believe that we are entitled to what we received and even more.

I ask you to pray with me each day that we will stop acting so proud and haughty. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord and ask for forgiveness. Once we have done that, we can ask Him for guidance and wisdom in all that we do. When we do those things, God will be pleased and we can stand firm in His grace.  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. 

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