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Living By Faith

Hebrews 11:5
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.' For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. (NIVUK)

Enoch's story in Genesis 5:18-24 is brief, but highly significant. He is mentioned with spiritual honour in the genealogy from Adam to Noah and his sons (Genesis 5:1-32). Historically, Enoch lived for 365 years; he was the father of Methuselah who lived for 969 years, and the great grandfather of Noah. And yet the way Enoch is described is different to the others in that chapter. It was written of them that they all lived, for so many years, and then died. But Enoch walked with God before God took him (Genesis 5:24).

The expression 'walked with God' is a special tribute. It means that he lived in open fellowship with God, nothing hidden, and always pleasing Him. Of all the people in the Old Testament, only Noah was described in the same way (Genesis 6:9); and because of his faith God spared him and his family from destruction when the flood engulfed the world. Many lived in the best way they could, in God's sight, like David (Psalm 56:13); or struggling with God like Jacob (Hosea 12:3). But Enoch walked with God for 300 years after his son Methuselah was born (Genesis 5:22).

Then God took him. Like Elijah he did not see death (2 Kings 2:11-12), and is a type or shadow of all who will continue to live with God for eternity because they walked with God on earth. That does not mean that the Patriarchs, Moses, the Judges, David and the prophets did not walk with God: they did and their faith is recorded in Hebrews chapter 11. But the writer has selected Enoch to make a point directly from the text of Genesis 5:22, 24. Only those who live in company with God will be taken to be with Him forever.

That was important information to those Hebrew-background believers who wanted to give up following Jesus because of pressures and persecution. The writer wanted to stress that they must not abandon walking with the Lord. Adam chose a different way and it was disastrous for him and everybody else. Jesus is described as the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:47). He lived with God (John 1:1-2; Philippians 2:6) and also ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9). Enoch was a prototype; Jesus' life was the full reality. So, we also need to keep on walking in company with Him, pleasing Him and enjoying Him every day until He comes or calls us home. Whatever the pressures on our lives we must remember that only those who continue to walk with Jesus will be with Him for ever. Never give up following Jesus. There is no other way (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).

Eternal Father. Thank You for wanting us to come close to You and to walk through this life with Jesus. Forgive me for the times when I have wandered away from Jesus, preferring my own ambitions and pleasures. Please help me to understand the privilege of walking with You every day until I am with You for ever. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams