Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The
Main Point: The best friends in life are the ones who will help you when you need it most.
The Movie Clip:
Sure, we know about Frodo and Aragorn. We know about Gandalf and elves and orcs. We even know about the mission to destroy the “ring of power” in the fires of Mordor. But what we don’t know is how dwarves and men and elves began to work together…or how the “one ring” even came into the possession of hobbits in the first place.
Thanks to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we now know the backstory. This film, part one of three based on Tolkein’s book from 1937, tells about the origin of this famous story. We learn that Gandalf the wizard has teamed up with a company of dwarves on a quest to help them take back their home in the Lonely Mountain from a terrible dragon named Smaug. In Gandalf’s wisdom, however, he drafts an interesting figure named Bilbo Baggins to be their “burglar.”
Now the stage is set for this world-famous story to begin. In the course of this fantastic expedition, the group will battle trolls, orcs, goblins, mountains, wizards, and their inner fears. As these heroes, who are very, very different, work together, they not only learn about one another, but begin to love one another, too.
Introducing the Clip:
Toward the end of the movie The Hobbit, Bilbo, Gandalf, and the 13 dwarves have just escaped the goblins of the Misty Mountains. It was in this dark, dangerous setting that Bilbo finds the “one ring of power” that is the focus of all the other movies. Unfortunately, Bilbo was separated from the dwarves in all the chaos underground, and when they make their escape, Bilbo is the last one out. Most of the dwarves, and especially their leader, Thorin, think that Bilbo has deserted the mission in favor of returning home. They say some pretty mean things about him, not knowing that Bilbo is standing right near them wearing the ring that makes him invisible. When Bilbo reveals himself to the group, he has something very endearing to say to the dwarves.
Note: This film is available for rent and purchase; pick up a copy of this film and cue it up to the scene mentioned below.
BEGIN CLIP AT 2 HOURS 20 MINUTES AND 2 SECONDS (in Chapter 29).
The scene opens with Gandalf, the dwarves, and Bilbo running down the side of the Misty Mountains. They’ve just escaped the goblins underground. When they take a moment to catch their breath, they discover that Bilbo is missing from their company. They begin to argue over whose responsibility it was to watch over him as he’s an important member of their team. Eventually, Thorin steps forward and voices his opinion.
Thorin: I’ll tell you what happened. Master Baggins saw his chance and he took it! He’s thought of nothing but his soft bed and his warm hearth since first he stepped out of his door. We will not be seeing our hobbit again. He is long gone.
Bilbo: No. He isn’t.
Gandalf: Bilbo Baggins! I’ve never been so glad to see anyone in my entire life!
Fili and Kili: Bilbo, we’d given you up. How on earth did you get past the goblins? How indeed? (Bilbo laughs and doesn’t give up his secret: he found a ring that makes him invisible.)
Gandalf: Well, what does it matter? He’s back.
Thorin: It matters. I want to know. Why did you come back?
Bilbo: Look, I know you doubt me. I know you always have. And you’re right… I often think of Bag End. I miss my books, and my armchair, and my garden. See, that’s where I belong, that’s home. That’s why I came back…cause you don’t have one, a home. It was taken from you. But I will help you take it back if I can.END CLIP AT 2 HOURS 22 MINUTES AND 50 SECONDS
In my humble opinion, that is the greatest line in the entire movie. “I will help you take it back if I can.” In essence, Bilbo is saying, “Hey, we’re very different creatures, and I’m not as strong as you. But I count you as a friend, and if I’m able, I will do everything in my power to help you get back what was stolen from you, because, well, that’s what friends do.” As your spiritual leader, I desperately hope you have friends like that! You see, the best friends in life are the ones who will help you when you need it most. That’s what Bilbo was doing for Thorin and all the rest of the dwarves. Let’s take a look at a passage from the Bible and see what we can learn about giving and receiving this kind of friendship.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite character from The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.
- ASK A FEW: What were some of the things that the dwarves said about Bilbo and how do you think it made Bilbo feel to have his companions talk about him in such a way?
- ASK A FEW: This question might require a “Tolkien nerd” to answer it, but I’ll ask it anyway? Were hobbits and dwarves mostly alike or mostly different? How did that affect their friendship? (Leaders – Hobbits and dwarves couldn’t have been more different. Hobbits lived in tidy little holes in the countryside and dwarves lived in cold, dark mountains. Hobbits like gardens and books and quiet. Dwarves loved treasure and gold and adventure. Hobbits were very peaceful while dwarves never back down from a fight. In other words, Bilbo and the dwarves didn’t have much in common with one another. It’s easy to see throughout the movie that those differences were a source of constant strain.)
- ASK A FEW: Why did Bilbo choose to stay and help the dwarves…even when they were so different and they said mean things about him?
- ASK A FEW: How did the dwarves and Gandalf respond to Bilbo’s little speech at the end?
- ASK A FEW: What would you have done if you were Bilbo? Would you have used the ring to sneak off while invisible, or would you have done what Bilbo did? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Do you have a friend like Bilbo? Someone who’s willing to help you in major ways? If so, who is it?
- ASK A FEW: Has there ever been a time in your life when you REALLY needed help from a friend and you got it? How did that make you feel?
Read the following passage:
CONTEXT: The backstory is a bit of a twisted one. David has been on the run from King Saul for some time, now, and has taken up residence with Saul’s enemies, the Philistines. However, the Philistines don’t trust David – after all, the mighty young warrior has already killed his fair share of Philistines – so they don’t let him go to war with them and instead, send him back home. This is where the story picks up…when David returns with his men and find out what his other enemies have done to them.
1 Samuel 30:1-25 (NIV)
David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, 2 and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way. 3 When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives had been captured– Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God. 7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.” 9 David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Ravine, where some stayed behind, 10 for two hundred men were too exhausted to cross the ravine. But David and four hundred men continued the pursuit. 11 They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat– 12 part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights. 13 David asked him, “To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?” He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. 14 We raided the Negev of the Kerethites and the territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.” 15 David asked him, “Can you lead me down to this raiding party?” He answered, “Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.” 16 He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah. 17 David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled. 18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. 20 He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, “This is David’s plunder.” 21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Ravine. They came out to meet David and the people with him. As David and his men approached, he greeted them. 22 But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, “Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go.” 23 David replied, “No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the LORD has given us. He has protected us and handed over to us the forces that came against us. 24 Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.” 25 David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this.
The Hobbit is such a great story because it revolves around people who are very different from one another banding together to help each other. You’ve got dwarves, elves, men, hobbits, and even a couple wizards all working toward one common goal. That’s pretty cool, I think. I wish people who were different could put aside their differences and help one another in the real world. The world would be a lot better place, for sure. Sadly though, so often, nobody helps anyone else.
But that’s what makes friendships like Bilbo’s and David’s so special. Very few people are the great friends that Bilbo and David were. I don’t want to take anything away from the movie, but David’s story, unlike that of Bilbo’s, is true. It really happened.
David saw that his men’s families were kidnapped. Their sons and daughters and wives had been taken captive by the Amalekites, and only God knows what would have happened to them. Maybe they would have been held for ransom. Maybe they would have been sold into slavery or even killed. But fortunately for the men, their great leader David did what great friends do: he helped them when they needed it the most.
He put his life on the line and risked everything to get their families (and his) back! Bear in mind, David did this for the guys when they hated him! They were talking about killing him! But David put all of that aside and did the right thing: he helped those who needed him most.
I hope that you have friends like that in your lives. I hope you have solid Bilbos and Davids that you can rely on in times of trouble and distress. If not, you need to ask God to send you some Davids into your life. Trust me, no matter how strong or smart you are, there will come a time when you will need a friend to bail you out of trouble. If you don’t have a friend like David, guess what? It’s gonna be a tough time!
But I also hope that YOU choose to be a friend like David and Bilbo. I hope that you are willing to serve others when they need it most. If you are, I promise you, it will make a difference in their lives. They will recognize your efforts and your risks and they will appreciate what you do for them. I know that, not just because of the movie clip, but also because that’s what the Bible teaches. Some of my closest friends these days are those that I’ve helped in times of trouble.
So, make sure that you keep your eyes open for a great David in your life. But also, keep your eyes open for your friends who need YOU to be a great David!
Close in Prayer
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.