When Yoda Agreed With The Bible
Having celebrated Star Wars Day this past May 4th, I am reminded of a line recited by Master Yoda in Episode I, The Phantom Menace. In one of the final scenes of the film, Yoda warns young Anakin Skywalker, the boy who would grow up to become the villainous Darth Vader, regarding the nature of evil:
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
This principle is illustrated in the Bible through the life of King Saul. In 1 Samuel 18:6–23, we find Saul and his future successor, David, returning home to Israel after a successful battle with the Philistines. As women from city to city chanted “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (18:7, ESV), Saul grew increasingly jealous of David.
Here’s how the life of Saul connects with Yoda’s words:
- Saul was already given to the dark side. Having chosen to disobey God’s commands repeatedly throughout his tenure as king, Saul was rejected by God (1 Samuel 13:8–14, 15:23). It was evident by his actions that his heart was not aligned with God’s. He did not think of himself as a steward of God’s kingdom, but rather the sovereign of it. Saul wanted to control his own destiny on his own terms. Yet, our “presumption is as iniquity and idolatry” before Him and makes us His enemies. David writes in Psalms 51:5 that we are all “sinful at birth” (NIV), born to the dark side in a life separated from the marvelous light of God’s holiness.
- Fear leads to anger. We observe in 1 Samuel 18:8–9 that it is the fear of soon losing the kingdom that drives Saul to anger over the chant of the women. Jealousy is an emotion fully expressed through anger and rooted in the fear of losing something that is important to you. Not only does this fear captivate Saul in jealousy, but it also drives him to envy as verse 12 shows: “Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul”. Though his anger was directed at David, Saul’s real battle was with the Almighty.