Courage: Going in alone against the Necromancer

In Peter Jackson’s new Hobbit film, “The Desolation of Smaug,” there is a striking scene when Gandalf approaches the lair of the Necromancer, a powerful sorcerer who is building up a great army to conquer Middle Earth. The Necromancer is, in fact, Sauron, the Lord of the Rings. (The Hobbit movies are set 60 years before Frodo sets out on a quest to destroy Sauron’s One Ring with the help of his companions.)

In the scene, Gandalf enters the Necromancer’s lair, Dol Guldor, alone. He tells his friend and fellow wizard, Radagast, not to come with him but to go back to their powerful allies and ask for help. Gandalf determines to go in alone for a strategic purpose: the Necromancer has not yet regained his full power and is not ready to launch his attack on Middle Earth, so Gandalf sees a chance to force his enemy’s hand into making a premature strike. By going in, Gandalf will flush the Necromancer out of hiding and into the open, where he can be seen by the good forces of Middle Earth and defeated in time. But this means Gandalf places himself in great danger, for as strong and brave as he is, he alone is not a match for the Necromancer. Gandalf faces this dark and powerful enemy with no hope for himself, for he will likely be killed. Yet, that is what Gandalf sees must be done for the sake of Middle Earth and for his friends. So, alone, Gandalf the Grey stands toe-to-toe with an enemy too strong for him. Courage looks like this:
  • You face your enemy.
    We all have had enemies. They may go by other names: “business competitor,” “ex,” “democrat/republican,” “estranged friend,” “in-laws.” An enemy is “a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.”
    But from the first pages of Scripture, man has had a far stronger enemy than anyone made of flesh and blood. “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Courage means looking behind all your worldly enemies and facing your greatest enemies: “spiritual forces of evil.” (Ephesians 6:12).
  • Your enemy is greater than you.
    The devil and his demons are far older, smarter, and more skilled than you. They have a simple mission: finding your weak points, attacking you, and destroying you. Whereas they are constantly thinking about you, you are often not aware of them. They have their eyes on you, like Sauron’s eye was always spying on the good forces in Middle Earth. Your enemy, the devil, has been crafting his schemes against humanity since Adam and Eve. And he is powerful, having once been the highest of the angels, and still he disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Next to an angel, a human being is weak. Courage is not blind to that fact.
  • Your weakness is overshadowed by Christ.
    When you are courageous, your enemy’s power is less intimidating. Courage frees you to stand against the darkness rather than retreat from it. But only a Christian can do this. Only one joined to Christ has the authority to resist Satan. Jesus told his disciples, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.” Jesus expects his followers to be able to conquer the enemy because they do it in Christ’s name.
Leave a reply below: What do you think about this scene from the film?
Brett Brett (39 Posts)

PhD Student in Pastoral Theology at Southern Seminary. Married to Rachael. Father of two girls and a boy. Louisville, KY.

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