David Jeremiah - He Walked With God
The story of Enoch is told in just nine verses in the entire Bible. Those verses are found in Genesis, Hebrews, and Jude. In fact, Genesis 5 which provides for us the most information about Enoch in the entire Bible, describes Enoch's life in 48 words. Throughout history, many people have made mysterious and some of them reverent comments about Enoch. And many of these perspectives perhaps have been helpful. Some of them have been speculative and what we do know from the Bible, however, is that Enoch, whose name means dedicated or initiated, Enoch was the seventh in line from Adam. Enoch was the father of Methuselah and the great-grandfather of Noah, and more importantly, he is the first man in the Bible of whom it was said that he walked with God. Say that with me. He walked with God.
Now, there is nothing about Enoch that would make us believe he was anything other than an ordinary man. I mean, he was not an administrator like Moses or a statesman like Daniel. His experience is a reminder to us that the book of Hebrews chapter 11 is not about extraordinary people who had faith. It's about ordinary people who had extraordinary faith. And Enoch was just the kind of person who might live next door to you. He was an ordinary person. Hebrews tells us that he pleased God, Genesis tells us that he walked with God, and Jude tells us that he witnessed for God. We begin by looking back in the Bible to the 5th chapter of Genesis where the story of Enoch is recorded.
And here we read, first of all, about Enoch walking with God. "Enoch lived 65 years, and begot Methuselah. And after he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were 365 years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him". Now, the cause of his walk with God is quite interesting for it says in Genesis 5:22: "After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God". Apparently, he did not walk with God for the first 65 years of his life. And then something happened that changed everything. He had his first son. Something happened to him that caused him to change.
How many of you know children will cause you to walk with God like nothing you've ever tried before. And that has been the experience of many folks. I've noticed as a pastor that there are two times when people are uniquely sensitive to what God wants with them. The first one is when you get married. Oh, what an awesome responsibility that is. When you get married, you realize, "I'm not just responsible for me anymore. I'm responsible for me and one other person". It's a very sobering thing, especially for men. The other time is when you have your first child.
After Enoch's son was born, Enoch began to walk with God. But there's more to it than that. Enoch named his son Methuselah, which means "When he is dead, it shall be sent". That's exactly what the word means. "When he is dead, it shall be sent". When this boy's name is placed next to the information that we have about him from the book of Jude, we begin to see what was going on in Enoch's life. Here's what Jude wrote: "Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, 'Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him".
Apparently, what happened was this: when Enoch was given his first son, God told Enoch to call him Methuselah, and that would be a signal that when Methuselah died, God would bring judgment upon the earth. "When he is dead, it shall be sent". Now, first of all, this demonstrates the kind of environment that Enoch lived in. He lived in an environment that deserved the judgment of God. The environment before the flood would make what's going on in our culture today seem like a Sunday School picnic. It was a time of wickedness and rebellion against God that ultimately brought the judgment of the flood and destroyed the whole world. And it shows also the grace of Almighty God.
Listen to this. The man who lived the longest in the history of the world is the man Methuselah. As you know, he lived 969 years. And the man God chose to be the bridge between his warning and his judgment was Methuselah, who lived 969 years. God said, "Until Methuselah dies, the judgment won't come," and then God gave Methuselah 969 years of life as if to say, "I wanna be as gracious to you as I can be". God is a God of grace and mercy and he extends his mercy over and over again. Methuselah's life was a period of grace before the judgment of the flood, and who was the oldest man who ever lived? Methuselah, he lived 969 years.
Now, there's an interesting little mathematical exercise that we can do with regard to this that's quite interesting, and I wanna ask you to put on your thinking caps for a moment and follow me. And some of it will be on the screen, but some of it you'll just have to gather as we go along. If we make the creation of Adam year 1, and we calculate the years that are recorded in Genesis 5, we discover that Methuselah was born in the year 687 from the creation of Adam. If we add 969 to 687 the total we get is 1656. The number of the year in which Methuselah died was 1656. That includes 687 years from Adam to Methuselah, 969 years of Methuselah's life.
Now, just hold that for a moment. I'm sure you've got all these numbers. If we continue our calculation, listen to this. We discover that Noah was born in the year 1056 from the creation of Adam, and since Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, according to Genesis 7:6, it means that the flood came in the year 1656, the exact year that Methuselah died. The Bible's pretty incredible, isn't it? Exactly as God told him, God made Methuselah a prophet by the virtue of his own name and his life. That's the cause of Enoch's walk with God.
Now notice the circumstances of his life. Enoch lived in a time of great depravity. I know that's not a pretty word. If I were to say to you, "You live in a depraved world," you would say, "Oh, no, Pastor, we're not depraved". Let me tell you how early depravity starts. Did you know it starts real early? Here's a list of the depravity of man as expressed in the life of a toddler. Are you ready for this? These are their property laws. "If I like it, it's mine. If it's in my hand, it's mine. If I can take it from you, it's mine. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine. If it's mine, you must never appear to allow it to be yours in any way. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine. If it looks just like mine, it's mine. If I saw it first, it's mine. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine. If it's broken, it's yours".
That's pretty funny, isn't it? Except if you have toddlers, it's exactly the way it is. Expressed in the life of children. Enoch lived in a very difficult time. His circumstances would make, we would not believe it if we tried to even compare it to the thing. I've been writing books about what's going on in our culture, so I'm pretty familiar with what's happening. It doesn't even measure up to what's here. The Bible says: "By faith he lived before the Almighty God in a righteous and noble way, and the circumstances of his life were not used as an excuse not to walk with God".
Let us agree today that maybe walking with God is a challenge in our culture, but our circumstances and our culture can never be allowed to be an excuse for us to just say, "Well, nobody can do it, so I'm not gonna do it". Philippians chapter 2 and verse 15 reminds us that children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world is our mantra. What are we? We're children of God, without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, and we're to shine as lights in the world.
Men and women, we've got to quit complaining about the time in which we live. I hear this everywhere I go: "I wish I could have lived in the good old days," whatever they were and whenever they were. You're here on earth today because God put you here, and he wants you here. Could have put you anytime, anyplace. He could have dropped you down in the Renaissance if he'd wanted to. But he put you here. He put me here. And we need to embrace our culture and say, "Lord God, thank you for allowing me to be alive in such a time and to help me, Lord God, be a shining light in the midst of the darkness".
One thing you need to recognize is one of the reasons why the Word of God, especially the New Testament, is so relevant to our days is because the Word of God, the New Testament, was written to a group of Christians who were living under the domination of the Roman Empire and under great stress and pressure and wickedness and evil, and the Word of God is filled with encouragement through them to us that we can be the kind of people God wants us to be, no matter what's going on around us. Our faith does not depend on our circumstances. Our faith depends on Christ. And that's a good lesson to take from these early experiences that we see in the life of Enoch.
I want to ask you to walk with me to the next step in Enoch's life, and that's the choice of Enoch's walk with God. It says in verse 22: "After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God," and again in verse 24, "And Enoch walked with God". Twice in this passage we are simply told that Enoch walked with God. In the crisis of his life, at the birth of his son, and perhaps because of a special revelation from God, Enoch determined to walk with God. I don't know when it was or how it was, but one day, shortly after the birth of Methuselah, Enoch began to recognize the need he had in his life for a closer relationship with God and one day he just made the decision, he just made the choice, he just said, "From this moment on, I am going to walk with God". And many have followed in his footsteps. Perhaps you have. This whole matter of choice often gets lost in our discussion of the Christian life. We are, so much of the time, what we choose to be.
When I first started out in the ministry, decisions seemed to be much easier for people to make. Today decisions are harder because everybody wants to maintain the opportunity to keep as many options open as possible. Isn't that true? We're a multiple choice generation. And the Bible tells us we have to make a choice. Here's what we learn about Enoch. There was a day in his life when Enoch chose to walk with God. And then notice the communion that he had with God. So close was Enoch's walk with God, just imagine this now. We know that the Bible says no one knows when Jesus is coming back except the Father. Even Jesus doesn't know it.
So you understand that God is very, very careful with information about what's gonna happen and when it's gonna happen. But Almighty God chose to tell Enoch that at a certain time, after a certain event, God was going to bring judgment to this earth. He chose to share that with Enoch. Like Abraham, Enoch was a friend of God. They communicated and they had communion together. Now, here's one that's almost off the chart for me. Sometimes I read the Bible and I'm encouraged, sometimes I'm just overwhelmed, sometimes I'm just intimidated. Are you ever intimidated by the Bible?
Well, here's one of the most intimidating things you'll ever read in the Bible. It's in Genesis 5:23: "So all the days of Enoch were 365 years". And he walked with God for 300 years. Enoch walked with God for three centuries. His unbroken communion stretched out over these many years so that he could demonstrate his faith and his faithfulness. His life was his walk, and his walk was his life, and he didn't depart from the right hand or to the left hand, he just walked with God for three centuries. And we wonder, can we walk with God for one more week? Enoch did it for three centuries. Go, Enoch!
And then the second thing that we learn about Enoch, apart from the fact of him walking with God, was that Enoch pleased God. "By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, 'and was not found, because God had taken him'; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God".
Ron Dunn has written that the great miracle about Enoch is not that he bypassed death to get to heaven but that he pleased God. That's the miracle. Here's a man who pleased God. Our goal as God's people ought to be to please God, and we understand that in our human relationships, don't we? My great goal is to please Donna. Her goal is to please me. We work at that. We wanna do that with all our hearts. Why would it seem so strange that the God who has created us and has provided salvation for us and meets the needs we have in our life, wouldn't it be normal and natural that the God you love would be measured in your own heart by whether or not you were living to please him?
Let me ask us all the question, let me ask me this question. Am I doing in my life what I do to please others, to please myself, or do I long to please Almighty God? Let me tell you, it won't always come in conflict, but there will be times when pleasing others and pleasing God won't be on the same page. The next time you're tempted to do something that seems like it's in the gray area and you don't know if you should do it or not, just ask yourself this question or ask God this question: "God, I'm about to... will this bring pleasure to your heart"? I'll tell you one thing, it'll keep you out of a lot of trouble. Keep you on the road where you can walk with God.
And then in Jude verses 14 and 15, we have this whole issue of Enoch witnessing for God. The Bible says that Enoch prophesied the coming judgment. God used Enoch as a prophet, a testifier of things to come. Finally, we have the most commonly known thing about Enoch, and that is Enoch going to be with God. We have him walking with God, pleasing God, witnessing for God, but the thing that's quite amazing about Enoch was he just went to be with God. It says in Hebrews 11:5: "By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, 'and he was not found, because God had taken him.'" He went from walking with God on the earth to walking with God in heaven.
There's a hint in verse 5 that when Enoch disappeared, people went looking for him. If that happened, then it was a parallel to what happened when God took Elijah in a similar way through the fiery chariot. "'Look now,'" it says in 2 Kings, "'there are 50 strong men with your servants. Please let them go and search for your master, lest perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has taken him up, cast him upon some mountain, into some valley.' Therefore they sent 50 men, and they searched for Elijah for three days and they couldn't find him," because he didn't fall down on a mountain. He went way past the mountains to be with God. There was no finding Elijah, and there was no finding Enoch. The Bible says Enoch was walking along one day and God took him.
Maybe he was having lunch with a friend and all of a sudden his friend looked around and Enoch was gone. Maybe he was with his family or his grandchildren, and all of a sudden he disappeared from the living room. Where's Enoch? He's gone. He was nowhere to be found. The Lord took him. And of course, you know where I'm going with this. Enoch is the first illustration in the Bible of the Rapture. Just what happened to Enoch is gonna happen to the people of God someday. Do you know how I know that? The Bible tells me so. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians: "This we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, with the trumpet of God. The dead in Christ shall rise first. And we who are alive and remain", watch this, "shall be caught up," shall be taken.
The same concept, in fact, Enoch, Elijah, Stephen, the Lord Jesus, all are prefiguring the Rapture of the church. One of these days, if you're a Christian, you'll be with your friends who don't know the Lord Jesus and you will do a disappearing act from which they will never recover. They will never see you again on this earth, because you will be taken and you will not be. I love the phrase, "And he was not". Where is old Enoch? Well, he's not. He's in heaven. He's gone.
And that's the way it will be for us if we put our trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible says that when you put your trust in Jesus Christ and you become a Christian, that one day the Lord Jesus Christ is going to come back before the Tribulation hammers the earth, and he's gonna catch up everybody who has put their trust in him. There will be an evacuation from this world like nothing that's ever happened before, and the Bible says if you're not ready, you will be left behind.
And some of you will never be able to walk with God because you haven't made your commitment to his Son Jesus Christ. You say, "What does that have to do with walking with God"? It simply says in the Bible that Jesus made this statement: "I am the way," the road, "the truth, and the life. And no one comes to the Father except through Me". The only way you can get on the road to go to heaven is by putting your trust in Jesus Christ. And many of us here in this room, we've already done that. But how easy it is for us in this culture to kind of move away from this whole concept of walking with God.
And I want to encourage you, no matter how old you are, Enoch was 65... And I know we have to make concessions for how long people lived back then, but my impression is that no matter how old we are or where we are in our walk with God, when we come to the place when we want more than anything else to please God and to walk with God, we will make the choice. And God opens up his arms to us to make that choice any place along the way.