Essays on Faith – Enoch

First, Abel simply gave God his first, best offering and now Enoch’s entry only mentions that he walked with God. Why Enoch? Why single him out? Like the ancestors before and the sons that follow we know his lineage and how long he lived. That’s pretty much it. Four verses in Genesis 5 don’t shed a wealth of background about his life.

The chapter drones through pedigrees. The line of Cain: lived, fathered, died. At seven generations, the line decays into destruction and brokenness with Lamech’ arrogant defiance of God. The line of Seth: lived, fathered, died. But at seven generations, the line reaches full bloom in Enoch’s walk with God. He lived, he fathered, he did not see death. Still, the lack of context wouldn’t exactly make it my first choice for weaving a convincing story or making a firm point.

Enoch didn’t die. God took him away. Impossible. Strange. Outrageous. Why am I more apt to discount the validity of the good in this story than the wickedness? Why is it harder to believe that God took Enoch without dying after less than half of a lifetime of his contemporaries than it is to grasp that Lamech stirred up new depths of sin with polygamy and murder and pride that had not previously existed in the world? Do I have more faith in man’s depravity than in God’s mercy and goodness?

In the long recitation of rote genealogy –living, fathering, dying – the words surrounding Enoch’s life jump out with jarring distinction from the rest of his family tree. “Enoch walked with God…” (Gen 5:22). In this second illustration from the Hall of Fame of Faith we see: faith = walking with God. God was so delighted in this faithful, daily communion that he went ahead and took Enoch from life.

Call me crazy, but there’s got to be more to it than that, right? Aren’t there some examples from Enoch’s life from which I can glean? Didn’t he drop some wisdom nuggets I can put up on my mirror and memorize? But Genesis 5 only tells us that while everyone else was busy with the trivialities of living, Enoch walked with God.

“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” (Amos 3:3) When you walk with someone you are in agreement with them. Your goals align for that moment. Your tasks are in tandem. And the longer this goes on the more intimacy it creates. Prolonged intimacy births love.

Life is so funny, isn’t it? I get so worried and agonize over doing the “right” thing as if life is a giant multiple choice test and each question has only one right answer. I still feel like my salvation and justification are pass/fail and it depends entirely on my ability to perform.

But what is faith if it isn’t just a daily walk in step with the Father? How do we please God if not by constantly leaning towards him and walking through our life along with him? And not only believing in him, but with action propelling us onward. Jesus walked with his disciples after he called them to him. He taught them as they walked and shared that daily life.

Our culture celebrates either slothful stagnation or whirlwind weariness. In the former, we atrophy with disuse and what we once may have had we find gone. In the latter, achievement doesn’t fulfill but only leads to higher and further goals, leaving us unable to find true contentment in the moment.

Oftentimes, the reality of faith is just a daily realignment and search for truth, a deliberate attentiveness to the Spirit speaking through his Word. Not a sprint, not a fall, not a picnic in the park. A walk; sustained and consistent movement. A constant communion.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic 6:8).

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