The Faith of Enoch

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, October 1, 2017 0 comments

by Logan Ames

If you grew up in the church or knew someone who did, you have likely heard a pastor or someone reference a poem called “Footprints in the Sand." It’s popular on social media as well. The poem is written from the standpoint of someone who is dreaming they are walking along the beach with the Lord. In Christianity, the phrase “walk with God” is something we use to describe the individual Christian life. So, the idea that God would walk with us on a beach kind of fits our perception of the relationship we have with him. However, if we are going to be honest about the life of faith in God, it’s not always a “walk." Sometimes we’re running to him, other times we’re running away from him. During the good times, it feels like we’re dancing. Other times, it seems like rather than looking back and seeing one set of footprints where God carried us, we actually see a long groove in the sand where he had to drag us kicking and screaming!

As we move forward through the series on the heroes of our faith in Hebrews 11, the next person we come to is one about whom we know very little. But the most important thing to know about Enoch is that he “walked faithfully with God” (Genesis 5:21-24). The writer of Hebrews includes Enoch in the list of faithful heroes, but doesn’t tell us about a specific circumstance of faith. Instead, we read these words: “By faith, Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death” (Hebrews 11:5). Did you stop and think about what that means? This man did not die. He was one of two known people (Elijah being the other) to go straight from this life to the next. Why? What would cause such an amazing thing to happen? The answer might surprise you, but it shouldn’t.

Back in Genesis 5:21-24, we see that Enoch lived 65 years before having his first child, whom he named Methuselah. Let’s understand that this took place before the flood during Noah’s time that wiped almost everything and everyone off the face of the earth, so that could explain why people lived for so many more years than we do now and also why they had children later in life. The Word doesn’t tell us anything about those first 65 years of Enoch’s life, but it does tell us that after Methuselah was born, Enoch then walked with God for 300 years before God took him away (v. 22). That means we can surmise that the turning point in Enoch’s life and his desire to begin to walk with God was the birth of his son.

Now, anyone who has become a parent knows that things change and your child makes you want to be a better person and possibly even a more faithful follower of God. So, on the surface, you may be wondering what the big deal is. But there is more to it than the typical new parent type of change. Enoch lived during a time of great wickedness. Think about the fact that sin and its consequences increased from merely eating a piece of fruit in disobedience to God (Adam and Eve) to one brother murdering another (Cain and Abel) in just ONE generation on this earth. Then think what could happen in seven generations and we get to the time of Enoch. Abel and Enoch are the only two people mentioned as faithful from Adam all the way to Noah, and in case you missed last week’s post, Abel was murdered way before Enoch came along! The world must’ve been a pretty lonely place for Enoch if he was the only one alive faithfully walking with the Lord. It would’ve made so much more sense and been easier for him to just blend in with everyone else and live a wicked life. I guess there had to be a pretty strong motivation for him to walk faithfully with God.

I discovered his motivation when I read a little further in the Bible, researched the meaning of some names, and did some math. If you don’t care for research or math, I hope you’ll at least get your Bible out and follow this logic because I was blown away by this. Genesis 7:11 tells us about the great flood that came over the earth when Noah was 600 years old. This is the flood that destroyed everything and everyone on the earth except for those who were in the ark and animals that could fly or live in the water. The rest of the numbers can be found in Genesis 5:25-31. Working backwards from the time of Noah, we see that Noah’s father was Lamech and he lived 595 years AFTER Noah was born, which means he died 5 years before the flood. That’s easy math so hopefully you’re still with me. Then, we are told Lamech lived a total of 777 years. It tells us Lamech’s father was Methuselah (who I remind you is the son of Enoch). We see in these verses that Methuselah lived 782 years AFTER Lamech was born, which means he outlived his son by 5 years. As we already established, Lamech died 5 years before the flood. This means that Methuselah died either IN the great flood or just before it came.

All of this would be irrelevant without one critical piece of information. One translation of the name “Methuselah” is “when he is dead, it shall be sent." See for yourself here. In the case of Methuselah, the “it” would be the great flood, which came as God’s judgment against the wickedness of mankind. Circling back to the faith of Enoch, you can begin to see why he walked with God AFTER his son was born. There’s no doubt in my mind that Enoch received a special revelation from God when his son was born. The revelation showed him that at the end of his son’s life, God’s judgment would come against the entire world. If you were given that information, you’d probably change how you were living too!

Fear can be the best motivator. Sometimes we soften the idea of “fearing God” in the church. We speak of it as if it’s different than other fears because God loves us and we don’t need to be afraid that he will destroy us. While it’s true that he does love us, it’s still just as important as ever to remember that he CAN destroy us completely. Knowing that his judgment could arrive at any moment should motivate us to do everything we can to avoid the ways of the wicked. Methuselah was the oldest person that ever lived. He was 969 years old, yet he died in the exact year of the flood, proving that God does not merely predict things - he PROMISES!

Enoch began walking faithfully with the Lord as soon as his son was born. That tells me that he wasn’t given a future timeline. For all he knew, his son would die very young and that would mean everyone else would face judgment as well. As you sit here and read this post, I encourage you to ask yourself if you know how much time you have left on this earth. The answer should be obvious. Given that judgment could come for any of us at any moment, maybe we ought to take it seriously and flee from all types of immorality. Let’s continue speaking the truth in love to one another and let’s motivate each other to walk faithfully with God for as much time as he gives us!

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