ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD
"And Enoch walked with God: and he was not, for God took him." Genesis, chapter 5: 24.
Little is said about Enoch in the Scriptures, but what is written is impressive in its brevity. Noah, like Enoch, walked with God, but the dismal story after the flood, mars his record. Enoch was born about 3,500 years before Christ. Adam was still living, able to tell the tragedy of Eden and perhaps to plead with men to turn from the sin, which by his folly was cursing the race. Adam, too, had walked with God in the cool of the day but he soon made it quite clear that walking with God in that way was not satisfying enough, therefore God gave him Eve, and through Eve, he sinned. It is as well to be content at all times with the provision God, in His wisdom, supplies. By the time Enoch was born, society was in a sorry state. It is usually thought that Lamech (c. 4, 19) was more or less contemporary with Enoch. The heavenly walk of Enoch was in a world embodied in Lamech. He was the first extant writer of poetry as he was also the first bigamist of whom we have record in the Scriptures.
He had three sons, the first of whom was Jabal, the forerunner of those who kept cattle and dwelt in tents. They were the people ever seeking new pastures for their flocks and herds, taking lands by force if necessary. Shepherds, in Joseph's time, were an abomination to the Egyptians because the Pharaoh of the time belonged to these marauding, conquering nomads and had subdued Egypt. Hence Jabal was a fighter, an aggressive, selfish man pushing his own interests without the slightest regard for the rights of others. The third son was Tubal-cain, who was a master in brass and iron, a man who had some knowledge of metals and immediately turned his knowledge to the making of offensive weapons. His father, Lamech, was delighted, and to his wives he recited the ode in the Scriptures in which he extolled the power of his knife wherewith any who offended him could be quickly despatched. If Cain were avenged seven times, truly Lamech, with his new weapons would, if need be, avenge himself 70 times!
Here, then, is the spirit of the age: the insatiable greed for material prosperity without regard to the rights or sufferings of others and with it turning every invention to give one ascendancy over others, to compel them to serve one's own interests. A world indeed exactly like our own! The second son was Jubal, the "father of all such as handle the harp and the organ." Here is the man who wants to find some answer to society's distress and fears and he finds it in music. Life had its strains and stresses from which people were anxious to escape. Music was the answer. Society must find an outlet and it would be a matter for gratitude if music could be sufficient.
When, however, we want to understand the times in which we live, the addiction to drugs, or drink or gambling, the fever for excitement, we must remember the clamant cry of the human heart for some relief, apart from God, from the pressure of life. Such was the world of Enoch's time. His walk with God was without many of the aids with which we are familiar. Life was hard and strenuous with few reliefs for anybody. There were few men who thought as he did, there was little opportunity for religious fellowship and there was no Monday night prayer meeting where his soul could be refreshed. He had no promise box, no Daily Light, no Scripture portions, little indeed save the promise in Eden concerning the seed of the woman which he may have received from the lips of Adam himself. The writer to the Hebrews declares he walked by faith, well pleasing to God. We can see his life very simply if we think of his walk with God, how it commenced, how it was continued and how it was consummated.
(1) COMMENCING THE WALK
It would seem that his walk with God commenced with the birth of his son, Methuselah. No doubt the birth of one's firstborn is not only a joyful but a serious occasion. New hopes are born in the hearts of the parents and new resolves are made with the genuine longing that this firstborn shall not make the mistakes of its parents. All this we may believe was in the heart of Enoch, especially as he had godly desires in his heart. The arrival of this boy, however, provoked a crisis. Enoch is the first prophet of Scripture. In the dark days in which he was living, he knew in his own heart that if God were God then judgment must be drawing near upon society. Men feel these things but, as we all know, it is not at all easy to express them and words seem so feeble, but in the choice of a name for his firstborn Enoch bore a testimony. The name he chose for his boy was Methuselah.
Generically, the name means: "the man with a dart" or "the man with the javelin." This is not the weapon of brass or iron such as delighted Lamech and gave him a sense of mastery, but the weapon of God, and that is very different. This boy was to be the weapon of God. In the day that he should die the judgment of God should fall upon the ungodly, and as a matter of calculation it can be seen that in the year that Methuselah died, the flood destroyed the world. Enoch believed in the weapon of God. He left to Lamech the weapons of man. The difference is important; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God.
Sodom experienced a political destruction at the hands of the allied kings. It recovered and Lot continued to live there oblivious to the fact that God also has His weapons. For that subsequent judgment of God, Lot was quite unprepared. It was, therefore, in the choice of the name of Methuselah, coupled with the assertion of the inevitable judgement of God, that Enoch commenced his walk with God. For a long time, probably, Enoch had experienced a growing conviction to which he now gave positive confession that God was the great reality in BEING, purpose, action and destiny, and all else was utter vanity. Life was therefore to be dictated by this conviction and planned accordingly.
He was baptised to be a preacher of righteousness, set aside to declare to men the counsel of God. No man walks with God until he steps out from the counsels, ideas, views, opinions of the world, and speaks clearly and unmistakably the truth God has given him. If we find excuses for our silence, if we delude ourselves that it is the life that counts, if we justify our silence and refuse our testimony we cannot walk with God. God's urgent need is testimony and if we are Christians we must not merely be dedicated ritually to God but we must declare our hope in Christ contrary to all the hopes of the world. Faith in the purpose of God and courage to confess it to men is the absolute essential to a walk with God. If we are content to let others come into our homes and dictate their ideas, then we shall find ourselves walking with them and not with God. Methuselah was set for the judgment of God and so Enoch gave him his name and declared himself a believer in the counsel of God and his obedience to the light God was giving. On no other conditions can any person walk with God. All of us have sung " The dearest idol I have known, help me to tear it from thy throne, " But we have failed to take the necessary step resolutely to bring down the idol by the help of God.
(2) CONTINUING THE WALK
For 300 years Enoch bore his testimony. Jude tells us something of his testimony, centred in the coming of the Lord with tens of thousands of His saints evidently embracing not the first coming only but the second coming also. People who preach the second coming even in these days are regarded as oddities, what Enoch must have seemed we cannot think, but God gave him the Word as Enoch proved himself willing to declare it. You cannot walk with God unless you walk by faith. You cannot walk by faith unless you reach certain simple and yet profound conclusions.
The first is that of all the fellowships of time the one that it is most blessed to cultivate, is fellowship with God. There is no need for anything dramatic. Indeed it is as simple as could be, you let God know from your heart that your goal is God Himself. Of all reality He is the sum, and of all the deep desires of and needs of your heart He is supreme. That means, of course, that you will increasingly estimate reality in an entirely different way from the man of the world; for the things that are seen are all perishing. It is the things that are not seen that are eternal. You walk with God more and more as God becomes more and more real, and everything is decided by the reality of God and the perishing nature of everything that determines the outlook and conduct of the world.
GOD is to be known by praying to God, but by praying that brings you to God Himself. Reading the Bible is essential but its crowning joy is to feel our hearts burning within us out of our meditation. Of course, as God takes you into His confidence, He relies on you to declare the truth He unveils to you, and so what is learned within the veil must be declared to men for their warning and their good. Whether they hear or pull away the shoulder is not the point. None can continue walking with God who does not welcome the counsel of God and forthwith declare it. What we hear from God that we must declare to our fellows. We may well be silent listening to Him but what we gain in our listening, that we must speak. As we walk with God two truths emerge:-
(1) The perpetual need of cleansing. None can really know how deep-rooted sin is until we are walking with God.
(2) The power of the blood and this not merely as a ministry of God in answer to our repentance, but the action of God, as sin is removed and spiritual vigour takes its place and the spirit gets younger every day.
Revival about which we hear so much these days, is profoundly simple. Let God know that you desire above all else to be satisfied in Him. Let Him know that you are giving to Him a listening ear, and let Him be assured that that which He reveals, you will declare. Then we shall walk with God, and that is revival as God desires it. Then we please God.
(3) CONCLUDING THE WALK
What a joy Enoch must have been to God! Here was a man choosing God for Himself and finding His joy in Him. Here was a man with an ear for God and a voice to declare what God's purpose was. Every day the counsel of God became a wonder of revelation to Enoch. Every day, as he had the opportunity, he declared, in words men could understand, the deep and serious things God was making clear to him. With full conviction he preached the coming of the Lord in judgment, and every day the walk with God became more intimate, vitalising, satisfying. The years went by, the judgment of God upon mankind became more evident and certain, not to the world but to Enoch.
He may have been mystified by what he felt to be God's delay. He did not know that it would be 669 years after he was taken before Noah would step into the ark and the flood would come, but time is a very different thing with God from what it is with us. Enoch therefore continued his testimony and he continued his walk with God. Men ignored him because they want no message from God. All they want is their sin, the things that are material and conditions in which they can enjoy them. Enoch however, declared the coming of the Lord, and he was probably a very lone voice. Yet every day the fellowship with the Lord became sweeter and more satisfying. He lived on the frontiers of the invisible world, the glow of heaven was on his face and the love of God in his heart.
One day he concluded his testimony, and while he was walking with God, listening, praying, rejoicing, he found that the frontier between time and eternity, between the visible and invisible, was no more, for God took him! It was a matter of no consequence to the world. The world with its great ones, its rulers, its business men, if they knew of him, were probably glad he had disappeared. But he had pleased God! He had submitted himself in faith and walk to the will of God and he had mastered the secrets of the eternal. His word too, although not believed as he uttered it, was vindicated by God both by his rapture and by the solemn events that proceeded at the flood. And after all, to please God and to be true is the way of life. We may be sure, no less, that in His infinite wisdom, God was unveiling a fact destined to be of great significance to those who should believe in Jesus Christ His Son.
It may be that all of us here who share the nature of Christ must pass through what men call death, but it is also true that there will be a generation that, walking with God one day, will find itself caught up to be for ever with the Lord. And any one of us can begin that walk with God by faith today. God welcomes every one of His children into the closest intimacy to share His counsel, to know His will and to give us the authoritative word. This is the word that is not the last development of intellectual pondering on material issues but the word that comes with life from the mouth of God and which, being spoken on our lips, is vibrant with all the power of God.
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