Balrog: Sin, Satan, and Walking In Faith
Balrog…do you remember him? Are you familiar with him?
If not, this monstrosity is the foreboding, looming, massive, dark, and powerful entity the Fellowship flees from as they travel through the Mines of Moria.
The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly onto the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.
~J.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship Of The Ring, Book 2, Chapter 5~
Satan and Balrog; An Eerie Resemblance
Much as the Fellowship of the Ring oppose a single dark power with many faces, we find ourselves also having to stand against a deceitful evil bearing several names. As God’s children we recognize this spiritual opposition to our Heavenly Father as:
Job 1:7 New International Version (NIV) The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
Matthew 12:24 King James Version (KJV) But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
- The Devourer
1 Peter 5:8 New International Version (NIV) Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
- The Destroyer
John 10:10 New International Version (NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
- The Deceiver
2 Corinthians 11:14 New International Version (NIV) And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
Isaiah 14:12 King James Version (KJV) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
- The Evil One
1 John 5:19 New International Version (NIV) We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
- The Devil
Revelation 12:9 New International Version (NIV) The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Frightening as it is Satan and Tolkien’s Balrog share some unnerving parallels.
They both thrive in darkness.
They both generate fear, doubt, and hopelessness.
They both stand as barriers or opposition to what is good, right, honest, and pure.
Likewise they are both bent on destruction.
Balrog lived in the depths far away from the world of men. Yet in that same darkness he brought the very race of men to tremble and quake. So too did he with other races such as the orcs, elves, halflings, and dwarves. This monster brought, in a sense, nations to tremble.
This horrifying servant of darkness stood between Frodo and his goal much like Satan does us and our relationship with God.
Will We Walk Frodo’s Path Looking For Light?
Frodo and his friends embarked on a quest to overcome and overwhelming evil. As believers, we are called to live according to the Gospel and share the Gospel of Christ with the world.
Neither we or the Fellowship were given an easy task.
Frodo and his friends were met with heavy resistance. Likewise, when we seek to live in a Christ like manner we are going to be met with opposition.
The Balrog works in a similar way to the devil.We can see this in the reactions of Frodo and his companions. They were taken by surprise. This was not the “Happy Birthday” kind of occasion either. No! This was the sort of surprise that could leave one’s skin cold and clammy.
None of them were ready for it. While they all might have been aware that there was risk, none of them were really ready for this. None of them were prepared for what awaited them in the darkness.
It is also in such instances, our roughest and perhaps most difficult circumstances, that we can or may become so frazzled by our situation that we:
- Allow the circumstance to overwhelm us and we give in to despair
- Try to take matters into our own hands
In short, we get so wrapped up by our own troubles, we tend to not only forget to give it to God…we forget the Balrog who is actively pulling the strings hoping to destroy us as well as topple our faith in Christ.
Just as Frodo and his companions had to flee evil, sometimes we too must do the same and flee from actions, people, or situations that may spiritually endanger us. We must remember:
Ephesians 6:12 King James Version (KJV)
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places
Will We Fall To Balrog Will We Choose The Darkness?
Like it or not when we fall prey to the devil’s schemes, we become sinners. If there is one thing Satan and Sin have in common it is that neither does well when exposed to the light. The same too could be said of the Balrog in the Fellowship of the Ring when Gandalf faced the Balrog alone.
I am not talking about a light though that we can switch off and on. I am talking about the power of truth and righteousness that Jesus called us to speak and live.
Just as the Fellowship of the Ring needed integrity, hope, and courage in order not to fall to the growing wicked powers that sought dominion over them we need something to prevail over the evil around us.
We Need Christ Jesus!
There is no other way through the darkness of death and despair than Jesus.
John 14:6 King James Version (KJV)
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
So like Frodo…we must, even in the very pits of despair and amidst our trials and tribulations….actively seek the Light or fall into Darkness!