Message Title: Enoch Walks with God, Genesis 5:22-24
Broadcast date: July 5, 2020 (No. 4044)
Radio pastor: Rev. Audred Spriensma, PRC home missionary
Dear Radio Friends,
This month, I hope to begin a series of messages dealing with God’s covenant of grace. Although that word “covenant” is not found in the Bible until we come to Noah, I would like to begin with Enoch, where we have a very important phrase about Enoch in God’s Word. We read in Genesis 5 of Enoch’s life. In verses 22-24 we read of Enoch this: “And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Enoch “walked with God.”
We find in the beginning chapters of Genesis two lines set before us, that is, the two seeds of Genesis 3:15. There is the seed of the woman over against the seed of the serpent. There is the seed of the elect believer over against the reprobate unbeliever. Those two seeds develop in history. We are not told much about Seth and his descendants except when we come to the seventh generation. Then we have a snapshot of the representatives of these two sides. Scripture gives a sharp spiritual contrast between the generations of the godly and the ungodly. Genesis 4 lists the ungodly, Genesis 5 the godly believers.
Of the ungodly, history speaks loudly of the lust of the flesh and vanity. The man’s name was Lamech. He took two wives. In that he tramples on God’s fundamental ordinance of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. Now Lamech says to his two wives (in fact he sings an “Ode of the Sword”) that he took delight in the accomplishments of evil. It is a story of human pride and boastfulness, rebellion and vengeful cruelty, murder, an insolent reference to the avenging of Cain, a song of haughty contempt and arrogance over against God and man. This Lamech killed two men. Three sons are born to him. There is a development of riches, the arts, invention, and industry—and of wickedness. The men of that line were famous then and now, rich both in the arts and in industry, living in sin and depravity.
Over against that line of Cain, there is Enoch, the seventh generation of Adam. We do not have a lot of detail, but he was very famous, for you will notice, in the Scripture that I read, that twice over: “he walked with God.” In Hebrews 11, he is enrolled in the heroes of faith. There we read that “by faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Yes, Enoch is famous. Not like the family of Lamech, his contemporary. But he is famous for his godly walk. He is famous because of his faith and the fact that God translated him. Oh, what an example he is of the power of God and His grace, and of the power of God’s promise. It is God who promised to put enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. And it was God who promised to give victory to the seed of the woman.
Enoch represented, then, the history of all those generations of Seth who loved the Lord. Yes, he is famous for his walk with God. What an outstanding trait of Enoch.
But now, what does that mean? To walk with God is another way of saying a man is a friend of God. In Amos 3:3 we read: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” So, what we have here really is a reference to a covenantal relationship—an intimate relationship of friendship—God dwelling with His people, God speaking to His people as a friend with a friend. God walking with Enoch and, therefore, Enoch walking with God—a covenant relationship. Life is seen as a walk. Enoch knew he was a friend of God. He knew God Himself.
Where we read that Enoch walked with God, the idea is not of a walking physically as we do with two feet on a path, as Adam and Eve were able to walk through the Garden of Eden with God before their fall into sin. But we are speaking about a spiritual walk with God. God pouring out His blessings of grace and Enoch being the object of those blessings. Yes, Enoch’s life was filled with God. God dwelt in his heart. God dwelt in his mind; his thoughts were of God. He knew God. He knew God’s name and God’s precepts. And Enoch’s desires were toward God. He wanted to be near God, to love God, to serve God, to obey God, to trust God, to experience God’s favor and goodness. Enoch had a close, intimate relationship with God because God chose and walked with Enoch.
That is the concept, really, of the covenant. Some say that it is an agreement between two parties. But that is a wrong word to use. What is the covenant? It is a relationship where God says: “I will be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.” We experience, as Enoch did, what it means to walk with God in covenant friendship.
The text describes Enoch’s relationship with God from the viewpoint of his walk here on earth. So, it is not just some mystical contemplation of God in his mind. But Enoch walked with God by obeying God. He said “yes” to God and to God’s will. The direction of Enoch’s life was toward God because he loved God with his whole being. Therefore, his life was controlled by the principle of God’s grace. The direction of his life was in harmony with God’s will. It is to be of God’s party here in the world. And that is revealed by his life, by his conduct, by his speech, by his activity.
So, I ask you, as I have to ask myself, does my activity, does my speech, does my walk this past week, this past month reveal that I am of God’s party, that I walk with God, His light shining in my heart; His being praised by my words, by my actions; my faith demonstrating and being strengthened? Is that true of you, is that true of me?
There is positive application for us. Walking with God means living in order to obey Him. Walking with God also means living an antithetical life. What does that mean? An antithetical life is the child of God saying “yes” to God and His will while saying “no” to sin, “no” to temptations from the devil.
The world at the time of Enoch was extremely wicked. And the world had become more and more wicked. We read in Genesis 6:5: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Seth’s line was being enticed by Cain, so that when we begin chapter 6, we read that “the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Oh, the world was becoming wicked. Lamech’s sons: Jabal, Jubal, and Tubal-cain. Jabal was the possessor of cattle. He is the father of the rich, the father of those who pile up for themselves the wealth of the world but who are not rich toward God. Jubal is the father of those who handle harps and organs, that is, the arts, music. What a good gift these can be when used for God’s glory. But, in rebellion, men and women use it as an instrument of sin and of lust and immorality and rebellion—lust of this world and rebellion against God. Tubal-cain is known for industry, being inventive, technology. Again, good things in themselves, but used by sinful men in the service of sin. Those three sons of Lamech represent all those who make it their aim and ambition to become materially rich, to make this world beautiful and pleasant, and make it useful and convenient. They are holders of vast possessions, masters in the arts, giants in industry. They are the descendants of Cain who was a murderer. They are sons of proud and boastful and self-asserting Lamech. They are the seed of the serpent. Sin was developing so fast in those days, even as it is today.
Enoch refused to join the wicked in their wicked pursuits. And that is what a walk with God entails. Do we not read in Proverbs 13:20 that we are not to be companions of fools, in Proverbs 28:7 not to be a companion of riotous men, and in Proverbs 28:24 not to be a companion of the destroyer? Over against that, in Psalm 119:63 the child of God says, “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.”
So, again, I want to stop a moment with a very practical application. Who are your companions, O child of God? Who are your friends; who are your counselors; who are your confidants? Walking with God means that we do not walk with those who are wicked and rebellious, but with those who fear God. Is that true of you? Your only companions, your true friends that you confide in, that you depend upon—are they those who, like you, love the Lord?
Enoch, because he walked with God, would speak out against the world. Notice that Enoch was not an isolationist. He did not keep his head ducked down and keep silent so that he would not be persecuted. No, he testified against the world, he testified against his own household. We read in Jude, verses 14, 15: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these [the wicked], saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Did you notice, four different times in those two verses of Jude, that term “ungodly”? He testified against the world, and even against those of his own household who were now marrying the daughters of men, that they were ungodly. That is a testimony in his own walk that he does not walk with them but he really walks against them. And it is a testimony that is spoken with his mouth. We read that he prophesied (Jude 14). In other words, Enoch walking with God was really a John the Baptist of his day, sharply condemning the world of its sin. Ungodly deeds, which they have ungodly committed; hard speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
We read in Hebrews 11:5, 6 that he pleased God. Are we famous in the world for walking with God and, therefore, also hated by the world because of our walk with God? How is it that Enoch walked with God? In Hebrews 11:5, 6, we read that he walked by faith. We read in verse 6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him [that is, God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” So there is an unbreakable connection between faith and pleasing God. Those who have faith, please God. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Romans 14: the wages of sin is death.
Enoch believed that the promises of God would be realized, although it seemed at that time that they would fail. His generations were becoming exceedingly sinful. Enoch lived in the midst of those ungodly and openly rebellious in the world. Little self-denial or loss will come if you do not say anything. But when you please God, and when you live a life that is pleasing to God, it means battle, it means suffering, it means that you are going to be different. That is a stench to the wicked world. Enoch is presented here in the long line of God’s people standing for truth in the world. Oh, there were other believers, but perhaps not as vocal. Enoch stood against the world, and that entails suffering, hatred, reproach, persecution, the loss of all things, and even, possibly, death. Abel was killed by his brother Cain because he was righteous. Here is Enoch, living at the same time as wicked Lamech, who was boastful of violence. What was the nature of Lamech’s violence? It was the same as Cain’s—he would kill others. Just after this time there were only eight souls in the ark. Many must have perished before the Flood.
Enoch was one of those who loved the Lord, who walked with the Lord by faith. You and I, as the church of today, should expect persecution and hatred when we live as we should. Enoch did not despair. Enoch did not run away as Jonah did from his task. He trusted that God is, and that God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
And, how wonderful! He believed in God and God cared for him. For Enoch, to occupy such an antithetical position in his times was impossible without faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please God!” He not only knew God exists, but he knew God as his own God, that He was the God of his salvation, that God was on his side, that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Are you diligently seeking the Lord, to please Him, to live for Him? Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Oh, the confidence of faith! It appears at times as if the wicked are victorious in this world. But, no, we know by faith that God is on our side. Without that faith it is impossible to please God.
That faith is a product of God’s own sovereign grace. That is the only way to be pleasing to God—by faith. What a wonderful gift, then, is faith. We are bonded, we are united, to God in Christ Jesus. That faith then becomes an active faith, by which we seek the Lord, we love the Lord, we come to the Lord Jesus, trusting Him, serving Him, and obeying Him.
Is it worthwhile to walk with God when there is going to be that kind of persecution? Enoch had the victory of faith. The text says that Enoch was not, for God took him. That means that Enoch did not see death. He had the victory. The wicked wanted to silence him. How Lamech would put him to death in a moment! During Enoch’s three hundred sixty-fifth year of life, God took him to heaven by a wonder. He was translated, not because of faith, not because of his works, but in the way of his faith. He was not found by his enemies who wanted to silence him. What a testimony that was to those wicked enemies. The prophecy of Enoch was true. The Lord is coming in judgment. He takes His own to Himself.
The amazing translation of Enoch up into heaven reminds us of our sure reward when Jesus comes. No, we do not have a promise that we will not see physical death or persecution for the sake of Jesus Christ, but we do have the comfort of knowing that God, in Christ, cares for us. The world may do what they want with our life or with our bodies in God’s plan, but we have a reward in heaven. The Lord rewards the godly with everlasting glory. He takes us to be with Him in heaven. What a full reward we will have when Jesus comes again. Then there will be no difficulties, then there will be no opposition or sin, but we will reign with Christ Jesus forever and ever.
That, beloved, is your and my assurance in the midst of the good fight of faith. God will not only guide us, but afterwards He will receive us to glory. The psalmist says: “Thou wilt guide me with thy counsel and afterward receive me to glory.”
So, let me close by asking this question: Are you walking with God? Is it evident in your speech, in your activity? Do you find it a blessed thing that God is with you?
Let us pray.
Father in heaven, we thank Thee for Thy covenant relationship with us in our Lord Jesus. We are thankful that we are able to walk with Thee by faith, loving Thee, and then saying no to sin and all that is rebellious against Thee. Bless our walk, that it may be a light in the midst of darkness, that others may see Christ living in us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Rev. Audred Spriensma (Wife: Alva)
Ordained: January 1981
Pastorates: Atwood, MI CRC - 1981; Bethany, S.Holland, IL CRC - 1984; Grandville, MI - 1992; Missionary to the Philippines - 2002; Kalamazoo, MI - 2007; Byron Center, MI - 2010; Home missionary (Byron Center PRC), 2017Website: www.prca.org/missions/domestic
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