“We Walk by Faith” – June 28, 2020

A 16-year-old boy had just received his driver’s license. When he got home, he asked his father, who was a minister, if they could talk about him driving the car. His father took him into his study and said to the boy, “I’ll make a deal with you. If you bring up your grades, study your Bible a little, and get a haircut, then we’ll talk about you using the car.”

After about a month, the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss the use of the car. So, they went to the father’s study and his dad said, “Son, I’ve been so very proud of you. You have brought up your grades, you’ve studied your Bible diligently, but you didn’t get a haircut.”

The young man waited a moment and replied, “Dad, I’ve been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair…so, why should I get it cut?”

His father just smiled at that point and said, “Yes son, and they walked everywhere they went!”

When I was young, I walked or rode my bike everywhere. While there were long hikes I dreaded, most of the time, when I went on walks, I recall fond memories associated with them.

I remember walking and talking with friends, walking our dogs and walking in the Children’s zoo with my kids. When Cindy and I started dating, I remember we took long walks and had intimate talks together. We walked hand and hand, in the city, in parks and for exercise through the neighborhoods.

Now, I am the kind of guy that freaks out when my wife says, “We have to have a talk!” 

I immediately think I did something wrong or I’m in trouble. But, if she says to me, “Let’s go for a walk together”, we can have very deep and meaningful talks and I am not at all defensive. Apparently, I am not the only one who feels this way.

Scientists, who study human interaction, claim that walking and talking clears the mind, allows us to be more creative, open to suggestions and lowers defenses. Walking, they say is more casual, friendly and relaxing. And it allows for an easier transition to intimate concerns than face to face discussions.

Looking at the life of Jesus, we often see this practice in action. It is probably seen clearest during the walk to Emmaus. Jesus met two people on the road, and they walked and talked together. They discussed disappointments, longings and finally had a revelation.

In fact, you might say that walking and talking with God is a major theme in the Bible. The New Testament breaks down walking like this; we are called to; walk in the Spirit, walk in truth, walk in honesty, walk in love, walk in the light, walk in wisdom and walk in holiness.

And there was one man in the Bible who did this much better than anyone else, except for Jesus. His name was Enoch. We find his short story, in part, in Genesis chapter 5.

Genesis 5 is a very interesting chapter. It is a genealogy of the 10 men, from Adam to Noah, and it covers some 78 hundred years.

It has been called by some, God’s blessing and obituary column. It is an accounting of the years these men have lived prior to having children, giving birth to a first son and other children and finally records accumulated years before they died. 

For instance, Adam had lived 130-years, then had a son named Seth. Then he lived 800-years and had more sons and daughters. Adam lived to be 930 years old, and then he died. (Genesis 5:3-5)

Each overview ends with “and then he died” except for one, Enoch. His story goes like this, “When Enoch lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after that, Enoch walked with God for 300-years and he had other sons and daughters. Altogether Enoch lived for 365-years”.  (Genesis 5:21-23)

Now, this is the interesting part: “Enoch walked faithfully with God; and then he was no more because God took him away.” (v.24)

Why the broken trend? And what does ‘and then he was no more’ mean?  God took him, in Greek, is translated to mean, that God moved him from one place to another or that God took him from earth and placed him in heaven. It literally means he didn’t die he bypassed death and went straight to heaven.

In the entire Bible, there are only 2 men that did not die, according to scripture. Enoch and the other was Elijah. In Second Kings we read, that Elijah was ‘suddenly taken up on a chariot of fire and horses of fire and then he went up to heaven in a whirlwind’. (2 Kings 2:11)

Most of us know Elijah’s story but I’ll bet few of us have ever heard of Enoch. In fact, most of us know more about Enoch’s son, Methuselah. Methuselah is known, mostly, because he was the oldest-living-man in the Bible. He lived to be 969 years old. (Genesis 5:27)

What really draws our attention to Enoch – is that he is mentioned in Hebrews Chapter 11, as a man of great faith. Hebrews records these words, “By faith, Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away.

 “And before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him”. (Hebrews 11:5-6)

In different translations you will find two interpretations. One says that Enoch pleased God, and in others, that Enoch walked with God. They essentially mean the same thing. In scripture, we only find two people who please God by being in step with him; Jesus and Enoch. So, that really sets Enoch apart from most men.

Now, let’s look at his short story in more detail. Enoch only lived 65-years before his first son was born. During that time, there is nothing unusual about his life. But that changed with the birth of Methuselah. From that time on, Enoch walked faithfully with God. Isn’t it interesting that something wonderful or tragic can literally change our perspective and our life?  

Research experts tell us, that most people come back to church after ‘a major life change’. Young couples often come back to church after the birth of a child. Others come back after divorce, major health issues or the loss of a loved one.

With the birth of a son, Enoch had a change of heart. Some today, might call that a conversion experience. I can relate; after the birth of my first-born son, I also recognized that I had been a witness to a miracle.

From that time on, scripture says, Enoch walked with God. What exactly does that mean ‘to walk with God’? I would suggest that it is not a literal walk, but figurative walking. God did not come down and walk beside Enoch; instead, they walked together ‘in the Spirit’.

That term ‘walk’ is a very important concept. It implies a step-by-step fellowship or a daily communion with God. It means, putting the things of God first in our lives. Enoch had the same mind as God; he had the same passions and the same desires. He followed God’s direction and was in total agreement with God’s plan.

Amos Chapter 3, verse 3 reads, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” In other words, Enoch fully embraced God and God in turn was pleased with Enoch.

It is easy for us to think, that in Enoch’s day walking with God would have been much simpler. Surely, he didn’t have as many temptations as we do. But that would be an incorrect assumption.

At the time Enoch lived, the world was spiraling out of control. Men lived however they choose to in spite of what God wanted. There was rampant corruption, so much so that God was planning on bringing a flood to wipe out all of mankind.

Everything fell apart quickly after the fall; there were lies, murder, rampant greed, lust and sexual sin, as well as sin almost unimaginable. And at that point, God regretted that he had made mankind in the first place. (Genesis 5:6)

Then came Enoch, a man after God’s own heart and later Noah. Maybe, just maybe, there was hope for God’s people yet. Maybe we could learn to walk with God and to love others, like Enoch did.

But first, we must have total trust and faith in God. Hebrews says that Enoch was commended as righteous because he believed that God existed and that he was earnestly seeking God believing that by doing so, that he would be blessed or rewarded. (Hebrews 11:4-7)

And here is the amazing part, Enoch kept up that faith walk for 300 years! Can you imagine that? Most of us feel lucky if we can make it through one day.

Enoch had an incredible amount of faith and endurance. And here is the thing, it didn’t end there. There is more. He walked with God, had faith in God and…he spoke for God. If we look back to the second to the last chapter of the Bible, we find the book of Jude. In Jude 1 (there is only one Chapter) in verses 14-16 we read these words,

Enoch, the 7th from Adam, prophesied about some evil men, – and here is what he said, 

“Look, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all persons of all the ungodly acts they have committed and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Imagine speaking up for God, when your life could easily be in danger. But Enoch knew God and trusted him completely. Imagine standing up for what you believe in, when everyone else is doing the opposite. Now, imagine walking like that, with God, for 300 years.

The last piece of the puzzle looks like this, God could have destroyed the world with a flood at any time, but he waited. In fact, we waited for 969 years until Methuselah died and until Noah built an ark before he brought the flood. In God’s mercy, he postponed the flood.

It is also interesting to know that Methuselah’s name means, “When he dies, it will come”. And that is when the flood finally came. God always chooses grace and mercy over destruction, until the last good men are gone or saved. That is the kind of God we serve.

Enoch’s story was widely known to the Jews and early believers. In fact, there was ‘a Book of Enoch’ that was considered an early sacred scripture. That is where Jude got the quote, in his letter.

Enoch’s writings are considered, by many, to be apocalyptic because they were predicting the end of the world, by the flood. For many years they were lost, but they were found in Ethiopia and some were contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Over time, many of us have lost touch with Enoch’s story. But he will always be remembered as the man who God took right to heaven because of his great faith. Little else seems to stand the test of time. It is our faith and love that people remember.

I have just one final thought… “What if the only legacy you left behind was one like Enoch’s”. What if, the only thing people remembered about you was that you walked faithfully with God, would that be good enough?

The Bible says that we walk by faith, but faith, like walking takes practice, patience and endurance. Are you putting in the time? Are you in constant communion with God?

Your Challenge is…to read Hebrews chapter 11. It is called the great chapter on faith. Chapter 11 ends like this, “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us, would they be made perfect.”

Our faith is a bridge to the past and to the future. I believe if we all keep the faith, we will be blessed. Not necessarily in riches but in the riches of God’s Spirit. May the peace of the Lord be with you. 

“And all God’s People said, Amen”

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