Are You Trusting the Force More Than the Father?

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Yesterday was Star Wars Day with its annual slogan, “May the Fourth be with you.” But today is also special for Star Wars fans, since the fifth rhymes with Sith (the ancient enemies of the Jedi Order). 

Tom Hanks's virtual commencement address and Star Wars Day

The Star Wars universe has been a cultural phenomenon for more than four decades in large part because of its assurance that “the Force will be with you, always.” This “Force,” however, is not a personal God but, as Obi-Wan Kenobi explained, an impersonal “energy field created by all living things.” It is available to us as we seek to defeat the “dark side.” 

In this sense, the Star Wars worldview reinforces and amplifies our belief in ourselves. A single Jedi knight can destroy a Death Star. People passionately committed to good can defeat those committed to evil. 

In Other News

What Tom Hanks told the graduates of Wright State University is what Americans believe about ourselves: we can persevere through pain and triumph over tragedy. Warren Buffett made the same optimistic claim during a recent company shareholders meeting: “Nothing can basically stop America. The American miracle, the American magic, has always prevailed, and it will do so again.” 

This can-do spirit fueled the pioneers who risked their lives and families to come to this New World, the settlers who pushed its frontiers from the East Coast to the West, and the entrepreneurs who built the greatest economic force the world has ever seen. Every time I travel overseas, I am deeply grateful to return to this country. My father and grandfather fought for our nation. I will always love America. 

It is in that spirit that I share what follows. 

Beware “the protection of Pharaoh” 

When Isaiah 30 opens, the Assyrian Empire is the world’s great superpower to the north. Egypt is the superpower to the south. The tiny kingdoms of Israel and Judah are in-between. 

The Assyrians would soon destroy Israel and threaten to do the same to Judah. You might think that in such dire circumstances, the people would turn fervently to God for help. But the opposite was the case. 

Rather than asking their Lord for protection, they turned to Egypt for help. Rather than relying on their omnipotent King, they relied on a fallen king of a finite kingdom. 

God warned that such dependence on people rather than their Lord was folly: “‘Ah, stubborn children,’ declares the Lord, ‘who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!’” (Isaiah 30:1–2). 

As a result, God warned: “Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation” (v. 3). 

“O Lord our God, save us from his hand” 

I am glad to report that their story had a miraculous ending. A few years later, Assyria invaded Judah. But rather than trusting in Egypt as had his wayward people, the Jewish king Hezekiah turned to God: “O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord” (Isaiah 37:20). 

Dr. Jim Denison is the CVO of Denison Forum. His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 200,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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