For my money the best character in any disaster, horror, or survival movie is a guy named Mr. Comeuppance. That’s the guy who ignores, the big disaster that’s on its way, acts like he has all the answers when he actually has none and mocks the hero along the way. I first met this man in a movie called Daylight staring Sylvester Stallone. Its a bad movie, awesomely bad. Viggo Mortensen plays a CEO who is arrogant and sure he has all the answers. When he and the other characters get caught in the Lincoln tunnel he is sure he is the man to save the day. His plan is to rock climb out of the tunnel. When the other characters tell him he can’t because it’s to unstable it goes like this..
(I have all the answers I’ll ignore any and all advic… )
(Guess we were right about the cave in)
Mr Comeuppance comes in many forms, the guy who says the aliens are our friends just before they get him, the Guy who says the weather is not a problem, then gets caught in a twister and of course the cocky Lawyer who gets eaten in Jurassic park.
(Surprisingly this doesn’t end well for the Lawyer)
The basic idea is that wee seem to like characters who get what’s coming to them, characters whose arrogance is their undoing. We want to see the hero be a hero and the arrogant jerk face get what he has coming to him. The story of Daniel in the Bible has a Mr. Comeuppance too.
King Belshazzar made a great festival for a thousand of his lords, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.
Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar commanded that they bring in the vessels of gold and silver that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the vessels of gold and silver that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace, next to the lampstand. The king was watching the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s face turned pale, and his thoughts terrified him. His limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king cried aloud to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners; and the king said to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever can read this writing and tell me its interpretation shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around his neck, and rank third in the kingdom.” Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar became greatly terrified and his face turned pale, and his lords were perplexed.
The queen, when she heard the discussion of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall. The queen said, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts terrify you or your face grow pale. There is a man in your kingdom who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father he was found to have enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners, because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
So Belshazzar is arrogant, disrespectful and blasphemous and ends up dead that same night, a Mr. Comeuppance if ever I’ve seen one. The question this raises though is a more troubling one, did God do it. Clearly God was the one sending the message so was God also responsible for his demise? Quite often you here people talk about God’s plan, and God being behind events that seem unfathomable. Indeed many see this death of Belshazzar as God’s punishing him for his actions. I’ve always had trouble with this idea. I know it can be comforting to some but to me it seems like this sort of belief is unfair to God. In this case it would make God part of the assassination of Belshazzar, sure he may have deserved it (comeuppance guy and all) but is that how God works? I think that Daniel’s involvement in this paints a different picture. Daniel is a prophet, a person whose job it is to point out where your current actions are leading you. Like when your mom said stop hanging out with your friends they are leading you down the wrong path. Belshazzar is being told that this fate is the sum total of the way he behaved. The lesson is simple treat people well and you can expect better returns than if you teat people poorly. God is always there to help show us a better way to be in community with one another.
(This guy was on to something)