Read – 1 Samuel 28
Focus on verse 5
There is a character in the Star Wars saga that reminds me somewhat of Saul in today’s reading. Anakin Skywalker is identified by the Jedi (that would be the good guys) as “the special one” who, according to ancient prophecies would break the power of the dark side of the “force”. Now, admittedly there are problems theologically with Star Wars and this is no attempt to in any way sanctify the dualism that is strongly presented by the ongoing — never ending movie epic. There are similarities however, in the way Satan works and the methodology of the Sith (that would be the bad guys) who, in these movies, seek to advance the dark side.
Satan always works incrementally. Earlier in Saul’s reign as king he had all mediums and necromancers banished from Israel because his desire was that Israel serve God alone. How, is it that here, near the end of his reign, he is seeking out a medium to call up the spirit of Samuel for him? Here is where Saul and Anakin are similar…(my apologies to those who may be unfamiliar with the Star Wars story). When Anakin is first recruited by the Jedi to be trained – wise old Yoda is reluctant to agree to his training because he sensed a high level of fear in Anakin. Saul also has much fear in him, right from the beginning – when the people are looking to crown him king they find him hiding in the baggage – why? He was afraid! Nearly every time he disobeys the command of the Lord it is because “he is afraid”. He tries to have David killed because “he is afraid”. In today’s reading it is the philistine army that he is afraid of,
When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. (v. 5)
Fear rules the lives of both Saul and Anakin Skywalker. Both begin with great expectations of success and admiration by people who expect them to accomplish great things. Both are slowly and subtly turned away from righteousness to do unrighteous things when the enemy takes advantage of their fears. Both come to a more or less tragic end – though unlike Saul, Anakin’s character is redeemed in the last moments of his life.
One of the lessons we might take away from the life of Saul is to be wary of allowing fear to motivate us to compromise our faith in God. Some have reported that the Bible records the words “do not be afraid” 365 times. Perhaps the Lord knows that this is one our greatest human weaknesses. There is only One kind of fear that the scriptures encourage…”the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” wrote the wisest man who ever lived. Apparently when we choose to fear the Lord, we need fear nothing and no one else.