“The perfect smile belongs to God alone.” Proverbs 16:18 applies. Apparently Napoleon was in a good mood. Hugo paints him as extremely confident, as he directed ten thousands of men to their deaths. “Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.” And there was the trench as Hugo points out. But other sources I read speak more about Marshall Ney’s impatience and foolish decisions. Still, it meant the end of the empire that threatened all of Europe.

Vain rulers beware. And although the humble suffer as well in this world, we do not know when tough circumstances might appear, but those of us who believe that God is who he says he is in the Bible, and that this apparent physical world is but a part of a much bigger reality, can also trust that our suffering is limited by his full knowledge and definitive lovingkindness. The vain ruler cannot be reassured by a God whom he is opposing by a prideful aim.