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.
- Anger leads to hate. Driven by anger, Saul attempts to kill David on multiple occasions. He twice attempted to “pin David to the wall” by throwing his spear at him in verses 10 and 11. Later, he attempts to deceive David and send him to his death on perilous conquests against the Philistines, each time thwarted by David’s success by God’s hand. Note that even though he never actually kills David, Saul is guilty of murder nonetheless. As Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:21-22 “you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment”.
- Hate leads to suffering. King Saul caused David much harm in his continued pursuits. Though God was with David (18:12,14,28), this did not preclude the fact that David would suffer, even as God delivered him in every case. David writes in the Psalms that “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). No matter the suffering David endured, King Saul’s was far worse. He continually suffered the torment of a life set against God in frustration and failure.
Saul could not escape the dark side of disobedience on his own and it is just as impossible for us today. Only God, through grace and our sincere faith in Christ Jesus, calls us “out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9–10). A rejection of Jesus, the very Son of God, will result in your rejection before His father, just as God rejected Saul (Matthew 10:33). We should endeavor to be as David who, having himself rebelled against God in his sins later in life, plead for God’s mercy with a contrite and sorrowful heart.
The good news of the Gospel is this — accept God’s plan and believe on the name of Jesus, and you will be saved. The Lord be with you!
May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:13
This post originally appeared on Medium.