I’m going to be away from my computer for the next three days, so I won’t be posting my “Read Through The Bible” thoughts. Instead, I’m scheduling a bit of a “sneak peek” at a new devotional I’m hoping to complete this year called Give Me A Faith Like That! Plans are for a 2-volume set, one on the Old Testament and one for the New Testament. In it, we’ll examine the kind of faith ordinary people like you and me exhibited that warranted inclusion in God’s Word. Isn’t that the kind of faith we all would like?
Today, we’re starting with Enoch – someone who we know very little about, but was pretty special to God, as he made both the New Testament and the Old Testament!
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death;
and he was not found because God took him up;
for before he was taken up, he was attested to have been pleasing to God.
There are only two people mentioned by name in the Bible who by-passed death and were transferred directly from this physical realm to the spiritual realm, into the presence of God: Enoch and Elijah. We’ll leave Elijah’s story for another day. Today we are examining the kind of faith Enoch was said to have – a faith that God found both distinctive and pleasing.
Enoch is the sixth generation from Adam, and incidentally, Adam was still living and in the prime of his life at around age 622 when Enoch was born (Adam lived 930 years). The early patriarchs who lived before the flood of Noah’s day were blessed with extremely long lives, averaging 900+ years. Enoch was the exception. At age 365, he was not, for God took him (Genesis 5:24). Enoch was the great-grandfather of Noah, and Enoch’s firstborn son, Methuselah, holds the record for the longest life recorded, living to the ripe old age of 969. Interestingly, the flood began the same year Methuselah died. This tells us a little about the culture in which Enoch lived, for by the time Noah was commanded to build the ark, the earth’s inhabitants were so wicked God decided to destroy them all, save Noah and his family.
Enoch had a reputation that outlived him. Scripture says Enoch walked with God, and that God took him up because he was attested to have been pleasing to God. What, specifically, pleased God? Hebrews 11:6 tells us in the context of Enoch’s testimony. And 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 seek Him.
Enoch’s faith in God had two defining characteristics that pleased God; these two beliefs were central to his walk with God. We, too, can have faith like Enoch, by believing in the same way.
Belief #1 – We must believe that God is.
Atheism is the absence of faith that God exists. It is a denial of what God has revealed about Himself, His character, His attributes, and His very essence. Romans 1:20 tells us that the creation itself gives enough evidence to garner faith in God. Simply by observing the natural order of the world we live in we see evidence of God’s invisible attributes, His divine nature, and His eternal power. Enoch believed that God exists and that He is who He says He is.
Matthew Henry, a biblical scholar who died in 1714, explains that the practical belief of the existence of God, as revealed in the word, would be a powerful awe-band upon our souls, a bridle of restraint to keep us from sin, and a spur of constraint to put us upon all manner of gospel obedience.1 God-pleasing faith begins with believing God exists, and that He is who He claims to be.
Belief #2 – We must believe that God rewards those who seek Him.
Faith that pleases God goes farther than an intellectual acknowledgment of His existence. Many religious and non-religious people acknowledge the fact there must be a God, but those who place their faith in God are the ones who receive the reward of knowing Him personally. We must respond to God in faith by seeking Him in the one way He has prescribed: through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
I believe this is the key belief that defined Enoch as a man who “walked with God.” He moved beyond a superficial, intellectual assent to God’s existence and pursued knowing Him personally and intimately. He sought after God. He desired God. He made it his life’s ambition to do what pleased God.
Enoch’s story engages our imagination because we love the possibility of escaping death. Enoch was “taken up,” or “translated.” He simply ceased to exist in this world. I’ve heard it expressed that one day, Enoch went out for a walk with God, and they had such a wonderful time together that God said, “Enoch, you’re closer to My house than yours; why don’t you just come on home with me?” One can only wonder what his family and friends concluded!
What if we lived every day with unshakeable, God-pleasing faith in His eternal existence? What if we walked with Him minute by minute, knowing without a doubt that He is who He claims to be and that every word He has spoken is true? What if we spent our time seeking to know Him more and more, fully convinced that in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and that He alone is the true reward – the One who can satisfy our soul’s desires?
Do you have faith like Enoch? Then you are pleasing to God.
1 Thessalonians 4:1 – Finally then, brothers and sisters, we request and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received instruction from us as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel even more.
Dear Father, We want to be people who please You! Give us faith like Enoch to believe You are who You say you are, and faith that seeks after You diligently. May we walk with You in faith and be counted worthy to be also be taken up one day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.