Dr. S. Lewis Johnson continues his exposition of Hebrews' "Hall of Faith" with commentary on the life of Enoch.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee again for the privilege of the study of the Scriptures. We thank Thee for the great heroes of the faith, who are such an inspiration to us; so many centuries later. We thank Thee for the confidence we have when we realize that down through the years, there have been men and women who have been faithful to the revelation that was given to them and who have given a testimony that is a testimony of our great God in Heaven and of the benefits that are ours from reliance upon him, in all the experiences of life. We thank Thee for Abel, for Adam, and for the other great heroes of the faith that we are studying and we pray Lord that we may truly learn from them and profit from them; and in nineteen hundred and ninety-three, so many centuries later, give the same kind of testimony that they have given to Thee. We thank Thee for each one present here this evening; we pray Thy blessing upon each of us. May the Scriptures strengthen us; may our time together be an encouragement as we seek to live our lives before Thee. We turn to Thee now, Lord.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] Well, the subject for this evening is “A Man Who Walked With God” and, of course, the reference is to Enoch, not that he was the only one for we read in a few chapters previously in the Book of Genesis that Noah also was a man who walked with God. But we are going to read for our Scripture reading, first, the passage in Genesis chapter 5, verse 21 through 24, which is the passage that, historically, gives an account of Enoch’s marvelous life. Genesis chapter 5 in verse 21 through verse 24, and the text says, “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah.”
Now, I must say, I like “beget” better, but my text has begot, so I’m going to read it that way, and I want you to understand that I like “beget” better. I’m used to those “beget’s” and when this was rendered “begot” I thought, well, I think, I’ll prove that that’s a false translation. But I cannot do that. Verse 22.
“And after he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
Now, turn over to our passage in Hebrews chapter 11, and we’ll read verse 5 and verse 6, where our author meditates for us upon the life of Enoch, as another illustration of the life of faith. In verse 5, he writes, “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God had taken him.” The Authorized Version renders this “translated,” and in some senses, I think, that’s a little bit better; the force of course is to translate, to move from earth to the presence of God, and that’s the point of it. In verse 6, “But 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 diligently seek Him.”
Now, there is one other passage I want to refer to, but I’m going to save that for the conclusion of the message. Well, our author here in chapter 10 and chapter 11, is talking about perseverance in the faith. We all know the necessity of that and we all know the benefits of it. He has said, in chapter 10, in verse 36, “For you have need of endurance so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” And then in verse 38 and verse 39, he has written, “Now the just shall live by faith, but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” And that one final word of encouragement, “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”
So he wants his readers to endure, to persevere in the faith, that they might receive the promise of the divine blessing. One might well ask, of course, at this point, just what is faith? And so the 11th chapter is his exposition of what is faith; and it’s a beautiful answer, it’s a marvelous exposition of faith in the lives of ancient saints.
Abel, the first example, displayed the beginning of life in faith in sacrifice. And so when we think of Abel at the beginning of this long line marvelous, faithful men; it’s good to underline the fact that it is he who brought the sacrifice, which pointed forward to the coming Lamb of God, and that’s where all faithful life begins, in belief in our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Savior, for our sins by virtue of his atoning work. Without shedding of blood, our author said previously, “There is no remission.” And the Apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter 1, has told us that “in His blood there is redemption,” forgiveness of our sins.
So Enoch follows logically after Abel because his life portrays the continuation of the life of faith in communion; and also, it portrays the culmination of our life in heavenly reward. So if we think of Abel and then Enoch, we have a complete story. We have the necessity of beginning with sacrifice, a recognition of Christ as our Savior, and of our reception of him as our personal Savior who died for us; and then Enoch follows with the life of communion with the Lord and it’s normal end in the presence of God. So what we have is sort of a complete picture of the beginning and the end of the life of faith right here, in the beginning. But, of course, he’s going to talk about many other aspects of faith, and will move on to Noah and Abraham and others, in the next few verses.
Well, I think, it would be good for us to just reflect for a moment on the history of Enoch’s faith, the passage in Genesis chapter 5. As you know, this is the chapter which has so many of these expressions, “And he died.” In fact, this may be one of the most monotonous chapters in the Bible, except that our author has underlined certain things in it like the history of Enoch that makes us remember it and appreciate it. But you’ll notice how it goes along. “Seth lived one hundred and five years and begot Enosh, and he begot after he begot Enosh. Seth lived eight hundred and seven years and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died. Enosh lived ninety years, and begot Cainan. And after he begot Cainan, Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years; and he died.” And so on. Verse 14, “and he died.” Verse 17, “and he died.” Verse 20, “and he died.” And so we look now at about verse 23 or 24, with reference to Enoch, and he died, and, of course, we do not see it.
So what our author has done in Genesis is to cram about fifteen hundred years of history into less than fifteen hundred words. And the phrase “and he died,” like the tolling of the bell across the centuries, enables us to wander in Biblical “Boot Hill.” And he died, and he died, and he died; reminding us, of course, of the fact that all of us, if we don’t have an experience like Enoch, if we’re not alive when the Rapture of the Church occurs, we, too will have that as part of our history. And he died.
In fact, the other day I received a letter, I mean, a call on the telephone, from a friend of mine in the Mid-West, in Ohio, and he said, “Boy, I am glad to hear your voice. I was at a conference, just a few weeks ago, and your name came up.” It was a Reformed Conference. He said, “Your name came up and someone said you had passed away.” [Laughter] So, now, you are going to read it, of course, all of you young people in this audience. You’re going to read, “and he died.” That’ll be all right because I have confidence in the word of God. I will be with the Lord and it’s I who will feel sorry for you and not vice-versa. But, “and he died,” reminds us that the wages of sin is death and that that is our destiny. It’s been the destiny of everyone except for one or two exceptions; like Elijah, and Enoch, and so, it’s a normal thing. As a matter of fact, this whole earth is a kind of “Boot Hill.”
But once, at least in Enoch’s case, now, and the first of all, the bell of death did not toll. We could put it this way. A man planted his feet on higher ground and walked with God into eternity, and so far as we know, he still walks with God.
You notice how that text, those little phrases, “He lived after,” and so on, and begot sons and daughters, and he died. And so, “lived after,” when we come to Enoch becomes, “walked with” and the “and he died” becomes “and was not.”
Those little verses in Genesis chapter 5, have been called, “The briefest biography in the Bible.” Well, I disagree, but the point is well made; that it is a brief biography. In Acts chapter 13, the Apostle gives us a very interesting biography of David, which is certainly very brief. For David, after he had served his own generation, by the will of God, “fell asleep, and was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption.” Now, when you are reading through the Bible, you don’t have my permission to come to 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel and the passages in Chronicles that have to do with the life of David and saying, well, since I’ve already read that little summary, I don’t have to read these chapters. But that is a brief biography; almost as brief as the one of Saul. “I have played the fool,” which is a marvelous little summary of the life of Saul. So here is a brief biography then, none of the biographies, however, is more eloquent or suggestive. Few are more complete, than the biography of Enoch.
You know, if you think about it for a moment, what that biography tells us is an awful lot about Enoch. You might think, “Well, that’s not much, after all, it says ‘and he walked with God, and was not, for God took him.’” That’s very short. But let me tell you what it really says about Enoch. And, I think, it’s justifiable to find it in that text by way of extension. It tells us what Enoch was as a father in his family. Think of it. To have a father “who walked with God.”
The front page of Newsweek, about two weeks ago, has a picture of a young boy, and some comment about the fact to the effect that we are living in a generation and he is living in a generation of no fathers. You cannot help but feel sorry for these young children in our large cities, particularly, who are growing up, not knowing who their father is. In fact, even their mothers, if they know them, don’t know who their fathers are. But to have a father who “walked with God,” what an advantage?
I wonder if some of the reason, this is not in the Bible, but I wonder if some of the reason that we have violence in our society, so, so deep, is because individuals who come to the realization that because of what has happened, by which they have become born and in our society, they feel that they must react against it because they feel so deprived of the kind of family life that so many people have. Don’t know what a blessing it is to have a father and to have a mother.
And so this tells me a great deal about Enoch. He was a man of God; and his children had great advantages. It tells us what he was as a husband because he was a married man. It tells us what he was as a neighbor. It’s always safe to live by a man of God, who walks with God. You don’t have to worry about your neighbor. It tells us what he was as a citizen, it tells us what he was as a worker, it tells us what he would have been as a friend; all of these things are an extension of “and he walked with God.” So it is a suggestive statement and, there are few more complete biographies than this about Enoch.
Now, we are not told, specifically, where Enoch’s faith began, but let me make a suggestion. It’s not something I originated, but I think it’s probably true. We’ll make a suggestion, and my suggestion is this; that probably Enoch’s faith had, at least, if not its beginning, its deepening at the birth of his first child. Notice what the text says. “Enoch lived sixty-five years and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years.”
Now, so far as our text is concerned, I don’t think we can prove this, but so far as the text is concerned, we don’t have any indication that he walked with God before Methuselah was born. But after Methuselah was born, when he was sixty-five years of age, the text says, “he walked with God” for three hundred years. So I’d just like to suggest to you and you may like it, or not, that there are some illustrations of this, I think, in our society that the faith began with the birth of the child. Why? Because of the sense of responsibility that any man has who has given birth to a child. Now, of course, my first child was a boy, and I started to say, “especially if the child is a boy,” but I might not have a happy time tonight, at home, if I said that, except that Martha’s first child was a boy, too. So she won’t object. But the idea is probably not valid. If it were a girl, I would hope that we would respond the same way. I certainly would. But those men who want the boy discover, afterwards, after they’ve had the girl instead of the boy, that the little girl is the one that just wraps them around their finger and the little boy does not.
Well, I suggest that it was the sense of responsibility over his child. He named that child Methuselah. Now, one of the commentators, many years ago, that I read, in fact, one of the first that I read, claimed that Methuselah is a name meant “when he is dead, it shall be sent.” Now, there is the root of the verb which means “to die” and the root of the verb that means “to send” in the name, “Shalach.” And so, there may be some possibility of that. Others have suggested that he was a man of missiles because of the Shalach which means “to send.” And, if so, he would be a modern man, wouldn’t he? A man of missiles. But it may have been given because God had said to Enoch that when Methuselah dies, the “flood is coming,” because the wickedness that brought on the flood is already operative here. We learn that from another passage in the Bible, to which we will refer. So perhaps, sobered by the flood, or at least, the birth of his firstborn, wrought in Enoch a faith in God that is described as “he walked with God for three hundred years.” What an extraordinary life! To walk with God for three hundred years!
There is a story that I have in my notes about D. L. Moody. Mr. Moody went to New York, once, in his earlier years, and he had founded a church and the institute. In the Chicago fire they had both been burned. And so he said he went to New York in the work of begging; so many of our individuals who are in our schools do that today. In fact, people who are appointed to the president’s position in our Christian schools are frequently appointed not because they are theologians, in my opinion they ought to be, but they are appointed because they can raise money. Have no reference to Chuck Swindoll, incidentally. This is genuine. And I hope, like everyone else, that Chuck will be a great president of DTS. But it is often that the other takes place.
Mr. Moody said, “I went there in the work of begging; I could not appeal for money. I was crying all the time that God would fill me with his Spirit. One day, in the city of New York, O, what a day, I cannot describe it. I seldom refer to it. It is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed himself to me and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand.”
Dr. Chafer used to say that about an experience he had. He knew Moody. I don’t know whether he heard that from Moody and took the phrase for himself, too. “When I began preaching again, my sermons were not different. I did not present any new truths; yet hundreds were converted. I would not go back to where I was before that blessed experience, if you should give me all the world.”
There is a difference when a man walks with God and one understands the difference in the listening to him speak of his experience and expound the word of God. So I’m just suggesting to you that our text gives an indication, perhaps, that Enoch, when he reached sixty-five years of age, and was the father of Methuselah, it was there, through that experience, that the faith that led to this long walk with God had its beginning.
In verse 22, he says, “He walked with God three hundred years and had sons and daughters.” The simple exercise of faith, walking with God, filled the invisible world with one great loving face, as far as he was concerned. Now, you’ll notice, it does not say that Enoch began to think about God. It doesn’t say that Enoch began to speculate about divine things for the first time or Enoch began to read what ever accounts he had at this time, of things that had happened to others, before him. It says, “He walked with God.”
Now, what does it mean? What are the things involved in a man’s walking with God? I suggest these things. First of all, it means that your life is moving along a certain course, under divine direction. That is, our Lord is the one who is giving direction to the individual who walks with him. You cannot walk with him, if you are not listening to him. And what he learns from experience is what Tennyson wrote, those famous words he wrote, “That through the ages one increasing purpose runs,” and Enoch had the experience of living a life that was in the purpose of God.
Experientially, of course, we all know we’re, I don’t know whether you are or not, I’m a Calvinist. I believe God works all things according to the counsel of his own will. And so everything that happens to us is within is will, but there are times in our lives when we are out of his preceptive will and we are not happy or we may even be suffering. But Enoch had the experience of making progress under the divine direction for three hundred years without interruption. That’s one thing involved in “he walked with God.”
Also involved, of course, is the fact that there is a sense of divine agreement with Enoch and the things that were happening in his life. You remember Amos said, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” And he referred to the purpose of God with reference to our lives in the context of that particular passage. There was no controversy in his life, like Micah brought controversy to the nation Israel because of their disobedience. And he said, “The Lord has a controversy with you.” But in the case of Enoch, no controversy; divine agreement, perfect harmony of will in the two. What a wonderful experience that would be. My few hours or my few days of experience with the Lord, when I feel I am in the center of God’s will, they are wonderful days but three hundred years? It is hard for me to really appreciate what is meant by that.
It also suggests to us and involves, it seems to me, a kind of mutual trust and perfect confidence; that is, between the Lord and Enoch. You read the lives of the saints in the Old Testament, and over and over again, God makes reference to individuals and says how much he appreciates them; things that our Lord said with reference to Abraham. “I know him and, I know, he will be faithful.” Or, the things that he said with reference to David, and how he loved him and Solomon, how the Lord loved him.
So mutual trust, perfect confidence existed between them, and that’s a marvelous experience too. You remember, in Psalm 103, a famous statement in which the Lord said, “I made known My acts to the children of Israel, but I made known My ways, to Moses.” Now, there is a great difference between a person knowing another person’s acts and knowing his ways. And what he meant by that was that while it’s true that Israel saw his mighty acts, Moses saw more, because he walked with the Lord and he came to know the Lord’s ways; the things that characterized him, a deeper knowledge. It’s like you and I may know the acts of Troy Aikman or the acts of someone else that we may admire in some particular sphere in which they live and act, but to know them is something else.
Now, the closest I’ve ever come to Troy Aikman is to be in the same restaurant with him. I went to Oklahoma City, a few years ago, and Mike Black told me. He said, “We’re going to have breakfast in the morning in the breakfast room.” And he said, “I had breakfast with Jack Nicholas there.” Well, that perked my interest considerably. And so we went down to breakfast and he said, “This is where I sat when we had breakfast with Jack Nicholas.” He said, “Nicholas was sitting over there, about thirty feet [Laughter] Well, I went in Houston’s out on Beltline, and there was Troy Aikman back there, with Babe Laufenberg, and it turned out that he’s there often, on Fridays, until they won the Super Bowl. But they haven’t seen him. Last time we were there, we asked him about it, and they haven’t seen him since then. So I won’t be able to see my quarterback hero for awhile. [Laughter]
Well, there was mutual trust, perfect confidence in the relationship. There is another thing involved, I think. What that means, specifically, is if he really walked with him is he kept step with God.
Now, the Bible has some interesting expressions. There is the expression of “walking before God,” when God told Abraham, “Walk before Me, and be thou perfect,” I believe the text says. And then there are other statements, which say that a certain person “walked after God.” We can understand that. “Walk before Me,” and he would inherit the care and protection of the Lord God. Walk before Him! You may expect that the Lord would care for you. Walk after him means to follow in the kind of path that the Lord would be walking in. But to “walk with Him,” this is more than before or after. He walks “with Him.”
Peter was a man who walked with God, from time to time, but also he walked before the Lord. In the garden, when the soldiers came to take our Lord and asked for him, when peter saw the servant, Malchus, I believe his name was, he pulled out his sword and cut off his right ear. He was walking ahead of the Lord. And so the Lord had to perform a minor miracle, well, not minor for us, but minor for him of fixing the ear. And then he walks after the Lord, also. He does precisely what the Lord said he was going to do, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me.” “Before the cock crows three times, trice, you will deny Me.”
So when we read that he walked with God, he kept step by step with the Lord God. He didn’t run ahead of him, he didn’t hang behind him like you and I do, that’s what we do. We’re going to walk with God so, occasionally, we are walking with God and then we have some ideas we haven’t brought to the Lord’s attention, and we don’t have his approval for them, and so we walk ahead of him. And we learn they are wrong and then we have to confess our sin and go back and start over again. Or maybe the Lord, we feel, would like for us to do this, and we don’t do it. We walk then, behind him. Enoch walked with him, and surely, that’s the place of happiness.
As the great Psalm, the 23rd in the 4th verse, puts it so well, “Ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” To walk with him was the walk of happiness and contentment and, above all, it was the walk of safety; our great Jehovah God right by Enoch’s side. And that’s what we have, too, when we are truly walking with God; our great Savior God, Jehovah, the Lord Jehovah is right by our side. And it also is the walk of honor. Many would give thousands to be able to walk with a king. You notice, after all of our athletic contests, when they are over, no matter what kind of contest it is, those who are the aficionados, the fans, they rush to their favorites in order that they might walk with them.
What would you learn by walking with Emmitt Smith or Troy Aikman or one of the others? I don’t think you’d learn very much, but you could be there and shoulder with the crowd not too far away. It’s amazing, isn’t it? What we like to do? We want to be around our heroes. I’m an old golfer, of course, as a kid, I can remember when the good golfers came, I hate to say this because it will date me terribly, but I played in golf tournaments as one of the competitors with Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagin, believe it or not, and, two or three others, who won the top tournaments in this country. And I can remember as a teenager, I was a teenager, loved to just get around them and watch them play. In fact, I saw Walter Hagin, his first shot of the tournament. He was the one responsible for the tour coming to Charleston, and he got up and Hagin had a reputation for being something of a rounder, and that day as he got on the first tee, it looked like he had been out a little late the night before, and he teed up his ball. He didn’t hit but a few shots, had to get on the tee, was a little late getting there. And so when he got on the tee, he hit behind his shot went up in the air about one hundred and twenty-five yards down the fairway instead of his customary two fifty. And some guy in the crowd yelled out, “Beat it out!” As if it was a baseball fly. And I was right there watching. That was one of my heroes. So to be near those great men.
There is a story that I love and I have in my notes about a young man who was in the securities business and he was in the same office with Lord Rothschild. And so he wet up to Lord Rothschild, as a young man, and he said to Lord Rothschild, “Lord Rothschild? If in any way you could use your great influence on my behalf, I really would esteem it a great favor.” Well, the Lord was very charmed by the attitude of this young man and so he said, “Let’s take a little walk.” And so they walked the full length of the London Stock Exchange and the great financier encouraged the young man to open his heart to him, and then they made a return journey to where they had been. And when they were parting, the young man said, “I know you will help me all you can.” And, Lord Rothschild said, “I’ve done so already. Unless I’m much mistaken, that walk we have taken together will bring you as much business as you can manage.” And it proved that way, according to the story. The young man, they looked out and saw him walking with Lord Rothschild, and they said, “Well, evidently, this is a young man who’s a comer, and we better get to know him.” And so he had, as he said, all the business that he needed thereafter.
Of course, if you are an individual who walks with God, you can be sure that you are going to have an influence, too, in spiritual things, which is, of course, what we are really interested in, all of us as believers. We would love to have the kind of life that would make others think that if they know us and listen to us they will get a voice from the Lord God. And so Enoch must have lived the life of honor among his particular society because they recognized him as a man of God.
Well, the text says in verse 24 of Genesis 5, “And Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him.” Wonderful reticence in the description of the stupendous miracle. What could Hollywood do with something like this? “He walked with God and he was not, for God took him.” I can see the sign. Enoch’s blast off! Successful! Not like NASA. Successful! Enoch taken by God into heaven. Well, what could you do with that in our society? No wonder about it, everybody involved in it would benefit. He walked with God, he was not, the Lord took him.
Well, I’m sure that it was one of the benefits of Methuselah to have a father like that. And one of the benefits of Enoch’s life was that Methuselah was a person who lived a very long time and as far as we know had a genuine faith in the Lord God. So we are not surprised by that.
Now, I would like for you to turn over to Hebrews chapter 11, verse 5 and verse 6. I want to say a few words about this text. It says a few more things than the passage in Genesis. Hebrews chapter 11, verse 5 and verse 6. This, of course, as you recognize, is the New Testament commentary on the Old Testament passage. Verse 6, he says, after he said much the same thing in verse 5, “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found.” I wonder if they really sought for him? They may have. They may have said, “Where is Enoch gone?” and send out search parties and they couldn’t find him. This text says, “he was not found, because God had taken him, for before he was taken he had this testimony, the he pleased God.” So he was a man of faith and the people around him knew him as a man of faith. And when he was gone, they looked for him, because he was just such a man. They missed him.
Now, in verse 6, we have the features of it, the doctrinal features. “But 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 diligently seek Him.” Two features of the faith of Enoch.
First of all, the one who comes to God must believe that he is! That is, that he exists. That’s the sense of the text. In fact, in many of our versions, it pointed in the way that indicates that it’s not simply “is” but “exists.” That is, that we believe that God exists. So he is an individual who believes that God exists; more than an Orthodox theologian, he’s a spiritual man. He really believes in the living, vital fact of God’s life.
By the way, he goes on to say here, I should emphasize this, he who comes to God. What does that suggest to you? “He that cometh to God.” Think about it for just a moment? “He that cometh to God.” Why do we have to come to God? What does that suggest? Come on? You theologians? Why, it suggests does it not, that we are at a distance from God. That’s what the Bible says, we are at a distance from God. We’re sinners! We’re hiding from Him! We’re trying to get away from Him! That’s the natural response of human beings to the thought of the God of Scripture. We want to flee. So “He that cometh to God,” is an acknowledgement of the fact that we are naturally at a distance. So begin by coming to him. So we must believe that he is.
We had a fellow who used to attend the Chapel and I saw him not long ago out in West Texas, at the funeral service of Helen Helping. And he came up to me, his name was Bob Hamilton, and we had a nice chat because he’s living out there. But he is the person who made a statement to me one time, which he had seen somewhere, I think, that “Those who say ‘Our Father,’ on Sunday are those who are on Monday live entirely apart from Him,” or something like that. I have it in my notes here but I can’t find it on the spur of the moment.
But, anyway, we must come to him, and also, the text says, “For he who comes to Him must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” So faith involves coming to a God who is an existent God and also a God who has made known the fact that he is receptive to us coming to him. The Scriptures reveal that fact because they tell us over and over again that the God of the Scripture is a God who is full of mercy and loving kindness. And so we believe that he exists and also that he is the rewarder, as he says, of those who diligently seek him. So that’s the content of his faith.
The consequences of it, he says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him.” And he says in verse 5, before he was taken, he had this testimony, “that he pleased God.” And then, the translation. I love the explanation of the little girl, who went to Sunday school, and came home and told her mother and said, “We heard a wonderful story today, about a man named Enoch. That he used to take long walks with the Lord God. And one day, they walked so far that the Lord said to Enoch, ‘You know, we’ve walked so far, Enoch, that you better just come on home with me?’” And that was her explanation of what had transpired. I don’t know if that was her explanation or whether that was told her by the teacher, but, nevertheless, that was what had happened.
Now, one thing that you might wonder about all of this is, well, yes, Enoch lived in so many years back, thousands of years before the coming of our Lord, things were different then. They didn’t have all of the things that we have today. They didn’t have all of the problems of living a life of testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s a great mistake, you know. That’s a very great mistake. Let me show you. If you’ll just turn back to Genesis chapter 6, this will give you some idea of the situation in which Enoch found himself.
Now, when the flood came, the description that is given of the thing that finally caused God to bring the flood is the description that is found in chapter 6 of the Book of Genesis. Verse 3, “The Lord said, ‘My spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” Long suffering, Peter tells us. That was God’s long suffering. He said, “All right, for one hundred and twenty years now, the Lord will suffer the wickedness and the iniquity of the people on the face of the earth.” And so he agreed with himself to do that. Then in verse 5, we read.
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
Now, I suggest to you that even if we don’t read the passage that I’m going to read, we would know that Enoch did not live in a society in which everybody was a believing person. In fact, the evidence of Genesis chapter 5 and chapter 6, is just the opposite. Things had become so bad that finally God had to bring the flood upon men. In his long suffering mercy, he waited for one hundred and twenty years. But we don’t have to reason like that, although I think, that is valid reasoning.
I’d like for you to turn to the Book of Jude, and we read another passage in which Enoch was mentioned and you’ll see Enoch did not live an easy life in an easy age. And you cannot say because he lived thousands of years ago, he did not have to contend with what we have to contend with in nineteen ninety three. Jude verse 14, verse 15, “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam.” That would indicate to you that Enoch was a public figure. He was known, he was the seventh from Adam. And so he stood out as being the seventh from Adam. A public figure. He prophesied. He, by the way, incidentally, of course, as we’ve been saying was a family man. He was no hermit; a family man. Enoch “prophesied about these men also, saying “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints.” Did you know that Enoch was a prophet? He was. He was a prophet, prophesied of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, long before the great prophesies of the Old Testament were given.
Notice, “The Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
Enoch did not live in an easy age. It was degenerate. It was a disintegrating society, we are told in Genesis chapter 6. It was a society of violence. There was a rudimentary knowledge of God, and we have so lost the sense of God in public life in the United States of America that it’s really pathetic and appalling that our society is so ignorant of the divine word. So don’t say Enoch lived in the kind of society that was different from us. Look, his society was part of that society that caused the coming of the flood upon all of the face of the earth in which all were lost but eight people in that ark. So he didn’t live an easy life; he lived in difficult times, but yet he walked with God in those difficult times.
Well, let me close, because our time is about up. For me, there are two things that stand out; first of all, the power of the walk of faith, to conquer death. So far as Enoch is concerned, he’s still walking with God. For him, it was translation. Perhaps, for us too; let us hope. At least, it was a victory for Enoch. Our victory may be a victory through death but, nevertheless, the power of the walk of faith to conquer death is the teaching of the word of God.
The things that the Bible says about death are very interesting; it’s mysterious, it’s inexplicable, it’s the one inevitable thing, some say today it is sheer extinction. It’s not that. That’s the ignorance of our society. It sure is the supreme terror of life. And yet, it’s an experience that we all face. It’s a release, in the sense, in the presence of God. It certainly is for us as it was for Enoch, a transition; it’s an adventure. That’s what Peter Pan says. “It’s an adventure.” It’s an adventure into the presence of God. Those are some of the attitudes people have to death.
The Christian, of course, looks forward to it as one of the things that is ours, Paul tells us, “Death is ours.” So we look forward to it as the entrance into the presence of God.
The other thing, of course, that stands out is the obvious thing; and that’s the prerequisite of faith for divine blessing. Notice the order, believe, come in diligent seeking of the Lord God. And so I’d like to ask you a question. Are you nearer to God than you were last year? Two years ago? Five years ago? Can you say that your life is characterized by a measure of walking with him? We sing, “O for a closer walk with God,” do we have it? Is it really something that we are earnestly seeking before the Lord God? It’s something that ought to characterize our lives as individuals who professesors of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We recognize how marvelous it is to have such a life, by the Holy Spirit, is there a tug in our hearts to give ourselves to a more earnest seeking to walk with him? I certainly hope so.
Is it characteristic of you? To pray? Day by day? Is it characteristic of you to get down by the side of your bed and have a time of prayer? The other affairs of your life, are they committed to the Lord in prayer? Is there a time when you are reading Scripture and really seeking through the reading of Scripture to know God more intimately?
After all, what does our text say? He that cometh to God must believe that he exists and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Diligently seek him. And you will be rewarded. Your life will be different.
May God help us to do just that. Perhaps there are some here who do not even have the knowledge of the forgiveness of their sins. Well, the life of Abel, of course, is important for you. He brought the right sacrifice. Our sacrifice has been made. We only give thanks for that which has been done for sinners; and receive the free gift.
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
Let’s bow in prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are thankful indeed for these marvelous accounts of these great men of God, whom we admire, whose steps we would long to walk in. And we pray, Lord, that for each us, the young in this audience, the older, that our experience may include walking with Thee.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.