Enoch: The Man Who Walked With God (Genesis 5:21-24; Hebrews 11:5-6)

Enoch image
Credit: Doug Husen

Message: 

Opening Selection: “I Walk With God”

Inspirational Selection: “Order My Steps”

Closing Selection: “Jesus Be a Fence Around Me”

 

Title: Enoch, The Man Who Walked With God (Genesis 5:21-24; Hebrews 11:5-6)

Adam and Eve didn’t realize when they rebelled against their Creator, the Lord, that the consequences would be far-reaching. The Lord told Adam and Eve that when they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would die. Adam and Eve decided to eat the fruit, thinking they’d achieve Godhood or divinity, but the opposite happened: instead of realizing how immortal they wanted to be, they realized how mortal and sinful they were. Sin and shame entered the picture, and God punished Adam and Eve by banishing them from the Garden so that they wouldn’t eat of the Tree of Life and live forever. The consequence was mortal death, and man had to die. The curse was now in effect.

But what few may know is that the curse God gives to Adam isn’t just for Adam and Eve, but for all humanity. In Genesis 5, we read of the spread of death through all of Adam’s genealogy: Verse 5 we read that “All the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.” Verse 8: “So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.” Verse 11: “So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years; and he died.” Verses 18-20 bring us close to Enoch, for they speak of Jared, Enoch’s father: “Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch. After he begot Enoch, Jared lived eight hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years; and he died.”

Genesis 5 reads like ancient-day obituaries; we today are familiar with obituaries of deceased persons, where the obituary tells you about the person’s life, their job, marriage, children, and their duties in church, at their job, projects they took on in the community, community organizations they were active in, and so on. But no matter how much stuff they do, jobs they have, awards, or accolades that can fill an obituary, they all die: “And they died,” “and they died,” “and they died.” Genesis 5 reads like death because it is all about death. In case Genesis 3 didn’t make it clear, death was the curse of God not just on Adam but on all of humanity.

Romans 5 tells us in so many words that all sinned in Adam’s loins, that we were there in the loins of Adam when Adam sinned against God and so, as a result, we all sinned, willingly, against God. The result is that death spread to all of mankind:

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Romans 5:14 points out that “even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam,” meaning that those who had not sinned as Adam did still died as Adam did. Like their forefather Adam, they too, went back to the dust from whence they came. The punishment God gives to Adam in Genesis 3:19, that “til you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. Dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” was a death sentence handed down to not only Adam but all of his posterity. Every person given breath in this world has the same curse, the same death sentence, on their heads.

And so, while we look at Genesis 5 and read “and he died,” “and he died,” “and he died,” and think of how saddening death is and just how “normal” it seems to be nowadays, we’re hit with the realization that it’s not just a normal way of life. Death was not supposed to happen. It wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t a blessing of God, but instead, a curse, a disruption of life as we know it. Death is a separation, a halt, a ceasing of mortal life, where loved ones and friends depart to face their reward whether in Heaven or Hell. No, to use a book title by Cornelius Plantinga, “It’s Not the Way It’s Supposed To Be.”

The more we read of “and he died” in Genesis 5, it becomes expected. We expect to read about every person born in Adam’s genealogy, and when we do, we expect that every one born will die. No matter how long he lives, he dies. And yet, the text takes an interesting turn when it comes to Enoch, the son of Jared, for we read that Enoch, unlike those before him, did not die. In Genesis 5:21-24, it reads:

21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. 22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Enoch had a wife, we presume, for he had sons and daughters. He lived 365 years, which was a shorter life span than nearly everyone in the genealogy of Genesis 5 (if not a shorter life span than all others), he was the son of Jared as we’re told in Genesis 5:18, and then we come to verse 24: “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”

Enoch’s name in the Hebrew is “hanukh,” meaning “dedicated,” and Enoch lives up to his name. The text gives us all the information expected on an obituary (okay, we don’t know what Enoch did for a living, but somehow I believe this isn’t all that important to the theology of Genesis), but there’s a twist, a surprise, something of the unexpected: we’re told that Enoch was taken. Yep, he didn’t die. He walked with God in such a way that he didn’t see death. We know this because of Hebrews 11:5 —

5 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.

When it says that Enoch “walked with God,” it means that he was a man of faith who lived a life of faith. But I know, we’re all focused on the fact that, as Hebrews 11:5 says, Enoch “did not see death.” He didn’t die, didn’t get buried, didn’t have a funeral, didn’t get sick, didn’t die in his sleep, didn’t have any health problems. I know, Enoch blows our minds because we thought the death sentence was on the head of every man, right? If all sinned in Adam, as Romans 5 says, then what happens to Enoch? The answer, I think, can be found in the fact that death was a result of the curse, not an inherent part of humanity. In other words, death is not what it means “to be human,” but rather, to be a human being under the curse of sin. But that curse, however, could be altered for some by God. It doesn’t seem to be an innate expectation that a sovereign God could not keep death away from those He chooses. Death doesn’t seem to be a rule that God cannot alter.

Remember Cain in Genesis 3? We covered he and Abel two weeks ago, and we noticed in Genesis 4 that Cain knew he had a death sentence on his head because in Genesis 4:14-15 we see Cain acknowledge that “anyone who finds me will kill me.” The Lord places a mark on Cain to prevent anyone from killing him, with the Lord saying “whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold” in Genesis 4:15. The Lord prevents Cain’s death by the hands of man despite Cain’s murder of his brother Abel and his own deserved homicide. No, the Lord doesn’t allow any man to kill Cain, and here in Genesis 5, Enoch is allowed to avoid death altogether.

How does Enoch avoid death? He avoids death because, as we gather from both Genesis 5 and Hebrews 11, Enoch “walked with God” and had faith. He pleased God because of his faith, for Hebrews 11:6 says “For without faith it is impossible to please God; for he that comes to Him must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

In other words, you can’t please God without first having faith. But when you have faith, you can’t just believe anything about God; you must believe rightly about God. First, you must believe that He exists, that He’s not some cleverly-constructed fairy tale. Next, you must believe that He rewards those who seek Him diligently, those who seek Him with all their hearts. Only someone with true faith will seek the Lord because such a person believes that He has promised a reward, eternal life, and that if he or she seeks the Lord diligently, then God will do what He has promised: give eternal life.

So Enoch walked with God. What does it mean to “walk with God”? It means first, to have faith, to seek God diligently, to live for God in the times we live in (yes, everyone wasn’t godly in Enoch’s day either, so we need not feel alone to know that we too live in an ungodly world today). Enoch had faith, he believed God existed, that He was real, and that God would grant eternal life if he believed on Him and chased after God. He was, to use a book title by Tommy Tenney, a “God-chaser.” How many God-chasers do we have listening to this sermon today? Wherever you are, just raise your hands and tell the Lord “Lord God, I’m a God-chaser, and I’m running hard after you.”

When we look at Scripture, we can find more insight on what it means to “walk with God.” Go with me to Deuteronomy 10:12-16:

12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? 14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 The Lord delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.

Moses tells the Israelites to “fear the Lord your God.” Keep in mind that the Word says in Proverbs 1:7, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 9:10 says that “knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Those who reverence the Lord, who acknowledge God in their lives, are the ones who have true wisdom and understanding, Scripture says. Fearing the Lord, as Deuteronomy 10 says above, is connected to loving the Lord, and to serving Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Do you love the Lord?

Enoch feared God, acknowledged Him in all he did, and loved the Lord. He truly had a heart for God that started within. The only way that you can properly walk with God is to first acknowledge Him in your heart, to believe in your heart, and then to confess with the mouth and to tell others of your love for God. In serving Him, we serve others, we help others along the way. We do a good deed for someone who can’t pay us back, as Jesus told the masses, because we expect proper compensation from God, not from man. Man can give us a paycheck and a pat on the back, but the Lord can give us eternal life. Which is better?

In Proverbs 8:13, it reads,

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.

The Lord hates evil, and pride, arrogance, and a perverse mouth that’s always talking dirty and vulgar the Lord hates as well. Did you get that? If you want to fear the Lord, then you must turn from evil, and eliminate a vulgar tongue as well as arrogance and pride. Jesus came meek and lowly to earth and Peter says in 1 Peter 5:5 that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” You can’t be an arrogant person, full of yourself with your chest stuck out, all the while claiming that you’re seeking after God. God is opposed to arrogance and haughtiness. He doesn’t delight in a vulgar mouth that’s always speaking perversity. The one who walks with God hates evil, and all these things (pride, arrogance, perverse mouth) are evil.

Proverbs 16:6:

In mercy and truth
Atonement is provided for iniquity;
And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.

Atonement, Jesus’ death and the shedding of His blood, are provided for sin, iniquity, but it can only be applied to those who fear the Lord by departing from evil. There is no atonement for the one who stays in evil and continues living a life of evil crimes and deeds. “In mercy and truth” atonement is provided, Proverbs 16:6 says, and so the one to whom it is applied must accept the mercy of God (which says that we are condemned by our evil deeds, not saved by them) and then walk in truth because the Lord Jesus says in John 14:6 that “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is truth, God is truth, and His Word is truth.

Proverbs 23:17:

Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;

This verse is one that you should keep close, as you should all the words of Scripture. It says that those who are zealous for the fear of the Lord, who acknowledge God, should not envy sinners. We shouldn’t envy sinners because we have the fear of the Lord, we’ve departed from evil as Proverbs says, so we have no need to fear the prosperity of the wicked. The wicked prosper temporarily, we prosper eternally and will receive eternal life.

Psalm 84:10-11:

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

Enoch walked with God: he loved the Lord, served Him with all His heart, was a God-chaser, and shunned evil and hated evil. Even in the midst of an ungodly world where sin had stained all of humanity, Enoch was an exception to the sinful humanity in his world because he walked humbly with his God. He wasn’t sinless, but he was blameless, and he acknowledged God. He “walked with God,” made God the one he lived for and spoke about. Everyone knew in Enoch’s day that he was a man of God because his actions spoke volumes above his words. Would to God that we’d all live in such a way that the world would know that we’ve come to experience the salvation and love of God!

Scripture tells us that he did not see death because, before he died, as Hebrews 11:5 says, his testimony was that “he pleased God.” We live in a world today where Calvinism says that man cannot please God. Not even man’s faith is accepted before God for salvation, but rather, that God must save without regard to faith because faith is a work of merit. But faith isn’t a work of merit because, if it was, then no man could be saved except by God choosing some and not others. And yet, we don’t read that God selected some in Enoch’s generation; what we read is that Enoch walked with God, he made a choice, a decision, to walk right before God, and because he walked with God and had faith, the Lord took him so that he didn’t die a mortal death.

Today, we think that the idea of a human who misses death is absurd; after all, even Jesus died (for the sins of the world, of course), and we think it odd that someone in our day could miss death. I’m sure Elijah thought death was a part of normal life. He’d likely not seen one human in his day be taken up to Heaven and not see death — that is, until he was taken up to God in a chariot. So, with that said, the question becomes, “Do you believe someone today could experience the same?”

If Enoch did, and then Elijah did, then I too, believe it possible: I believe that someone today could live such a life of faith that he or she could be another “Enoch” or Elijah who misses death. Only the Lord knows. While I can’t know if someone will miss death that’s on the earth right now, or if that person will come years from now, I do know this: that God is looking for men and women of great faith in Him who aren’t afraid to live a life of faith.

We never read much beyond this about Enoch, but there’s one reference to a statement of his: it’s found in the Book of Jude, verses 14 and 15:

14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 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.”

These are the words of Enoch, who, according to Jude 14 and 15, was a prophet. In his prophecy, he foretells of the end when the Lord returns and judges the ungodly. With eyes of faith, he could see to the end of time when the Lord returns to judge the world.

Are you walking right before the Lord? Are you walking with God? Have you made the Lord the head of your life? Is He your Lord and Savior? Have you surrendered all to Him?

If you haven’t put Him first, and haven’t made Jesus the Lord of your life, then today is your day: now is the acceptable time, TODAY is the day of your salvation. You can be saved today, if you’d only believe. For, as John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes is not condemned; but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.” The Lord calls us through the words of Isaiah when the prophet says in Isaiah 55:6-7,

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

We pray you’ve been blessed by the Word of God today. For all inquiries about Bible Study, worship services, or to give suggestions, please contact us @essentialpastor@gmail.com.

God Bless.

Pastor D.M. Richardson,

The Essential Church

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