A Hobbit Devotional by Ed Strauss is a collection of 60 devotional readings that tie in to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. While released to coincide with the movie release, I think that the devotional has something to offer to Christians who are also a fan of Tolkien’s work. Each reading ties loosely to selections from the Hobbit and proceed in the same order as the book. There’s a short quote from The Hobbit at the beginning and a devotional reading that ties Middle Earth to our life as Christians.
We open with a devotion on “blind spots” – tying in how the Hobbits lived their comfortable lives unaware of the dangers in the wider world with how Israel was content with what they had instead of following God and then with how we tend to just sit back and ignore bigger problems around us. We’re willing to give money so someone else deals with the problem, but rarely act ourselves. This leads to a comparison with how Gandalf shook up Bilbo’s life to how Jesus shakes up a Christian’s life in the next devotion. Ed Strauss works through many similar comparisons, some of which hit a little closer to home than others.
Overall, I’d recommend this devotional to fans of Tolkien’s work. It’s not a deep devotional by any means, but if you take a little time to ponder each reading they draw some great comparisons to Bilbo, the Bible, and our lives today. The book is definitely heavy on the descriptive text and summaries, but Ed Strauss works in Bible verses and quotes from Tolkien’s work well to tie them together. We’re reminded that Tolkien’s Middle Earth is not “Christian”, but see how Tolkien’s faith influenced his world and characters. I never felt that the comparisons between Bilbo and our faith were contrived and that is one of the main reasons I can recommend this book.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this book with no expectations on the publisher’s part. I was not influenced or compensated for this review.