By Diane Barstow
Hebrews 11:5-6, Genesis 5:21-24
‘By faith Enoch was taken up so he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.’
‘Enoch lived sixty five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.’
Another man of mystery! What was the world like so that ‘having faith and walking with God’ is so remarkable that it’s rewarded with a personal rapture?
On one of my deep dives into Genesis, I discovered a tiny nugget of info. Genesis 4:26 says, ‘To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh (mortal man). Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.’ Enosh was born in the year 235, Adam was still alive. In fact Seth, Enosh, Cainan/Kenan, Mahaleel, Jared, and Enoch were all born while Adam still lived (died ~ 930)! What changed the year Enosh was born? Why did men, just then, begin to call on the name of the Lord? Was there any need for faith before this time, Adam was still alive, if not nearby?? Cain actually spoke with the Lord prior to his banishment, so he was available to them. Did He still walk with them? Is faith of their own, rather than Adam’s testimony the issue? Cain, Abel, and Job all made offerings or sacrifices to the Lord. Paul in Acts 17 confronted the Athenian’s ‘religious, but ignorant’ altar to an unknown God. Rather than seeking to know the true and living God, they built an altar to cover all their bases. Cain’s offering was also made without faith and he was rejected. It is thought that God had conferred privileged status upon Abel as the firstborn by accepting his sacrifice, and Cain thought to take it back by murdering him.
What changed the year that Methuselah was born? Perhaps his name holds a clue; it means ‘when he is dead, it shall come.’ Maybe that prophetic name caused a holy fear in Enoch’s heart? What the scripture has to say is clear - Enoch had a faithful, personal relationship with his God.
What was the world like in the days of Enoch? To the best of biblical calculation, Enoch lived from year-from-Adam 622 until he was translated to heaven in 987. We look to Genesis 6 to find our answer. The population in the days of Noah, his great-grandson, is estimated to be 7 billion. God says that, ‘the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the earth was filled with violence. And corrupt for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.’ Diane Caston, as a great-grandparent, is a walking talking history of what changes have happened in the span of her lifetime. There was certainly plenty of wickedness during her childhood, as there is now, just displayed in a different manner. So the world of Enoch, in which he walked with God in faith, was as wicked as the world of Diane’s or my childhood. In this evil climate, Enoch had faith, the kind of faith that energized a lively relationship with God. Nothing but absolute faith
pleases God. Absolute faith is complete trust, adherence, and reliance on God. It’s an accurate knowledge of His existence and character, accompanied by singular devotion. We are ‘all in’ with Christ as our key to heaven’s door! The evidence of faith, as described in verse 5, was that Enoch ‘obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.’ Romans 8:16 says, ‘The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are the children of God.’ We, like Enoch, have that internal confirmation and confidence that we have faith. Not just a mental assent, but assent and full acceptance! To be pleased God has set a standard - we must believe that He exists, that He rewards those who actively search for Him, and I’ll add that we must whole-heartedly accept the terms He specified - no one comes to the Father except by Jesus. Then as we proceed toward our heavenly destination, we ask, seek, and knock for more understanding, more knowledge of Him, more like-mindedness with Him, more Christ-likeness in our character.
As I studied, I wondered how I could define what it means to walk with God. Jesus of course provided the answer through His use of parables and object lessons.
As some of you may know, Donna and I are close friends and hiking buddies. We have a love of fresh air, physical exertion, and nature in common. Amos 3:3 says, ‘Do two men walk together, unless they are agreed?’
Agree to walk together
Agree on a leader, and to follow the leader closely
Trust the leader implicitly
Agree on the route and destination, some trails are long and flat, some are hilly and difficult Agree on the pace
Agree to stay in communication
Agree on proper attire and supplies
Donna and I make sure to look up to gauge how far we’ve come and how far we have left to go
We are careful to keep our conversation edifying and praise the Lord for the tarnished glory in nature and look forward to the new heaven & earth
We make sure we’re fed and watered before we go, and that we take breaks
‘Our faith in God grows as we fellowship with God. We must have both the desire to please Him and the diligence to seek Him. Prayer, meditating on the Word, worship, discipline - all of these help us in our walk with God. Enoch walked with God in the wicked world before the flood came, he was able to keep his life pure.” Wiersbe
‘Faith seeks for God, believes that He is, and it keeps the heart open towards Him, it bows in humility and hope for Him to make Himself known. Faith believes that God is, that He can be found, that He can and will make Himself known, that He cares for everyone who truly longs for Him, and that He has a divine reward for the seeker after Him.’ Murray