Summary: Third in the Heroes of Faith series from Hebrews, this sermon is about Enoch.
It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God.
— Hebrews 11:5 NLT
In the early chapters of Genesis, especially chapter five, the Holy Spirit chronicles a record of genealogies—a family tree from Adam down to Noah. For many of these people, all we know of them is that they lived, had children, and died.
Men like Kenan, Methuselah, and Lamech may not seem important in the unfolding drama of human history, but these people are actually living links in the long lineage that reaches from the creation of Adam all the way to the birth of Jesus Christ. God’s promise to send the Savoir depended upon the faith of many ordinary people who—to us—are just unfamiliar, often unpronounceable, names in a withered old family tree.
One of those unfamiliar names that we come across is that of a man called Enoch. He is mentioned less than a handful of times throughout the entire Bible, and yet he was blessed with one of the most incredible distinctions ever given to man—he never died. In Hebrews 11:5, we’re told that Enoch was “pleasing to God;” so pleasing that God actually spared him the experience of death and carried him into heaven personally. How amazing is that!? We’re also told that it was because of his faith that God took him into heaven prematurely. So, let’s go back to Genesis and try to put the brief mention of his life in context.
When Jared was 162 years old, he had a son named Enoch. After Enoch was born, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. So Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. When Enoch was 65 years old, he had a son named Methuselah. After Methuselah was born, Enoch walked with God 300 years more and had other sons and daughters. So Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked with God; one day Enoch could not be found, because God took him. (Genesis 5:18-24 NCV).
Although we know very little about him, Enoch’s faith is revealed to us in a variety of ways in this brief account of his life. First, Enoch’s faith is demonstrated through his...
Did you notice how the simple phrase, “Enoch walked with God,” is repeated twice in Genesis? Once upon a time, as the high-school prom was approaching, one young man asked his father if he could borrow his dad’s 1963 Corvette—for him and his date. His dad said, “I’ll tell you what, if you can improve one letter grade in each of your classes and if you’ll get your hair cut, I’ll let you take the car.” Well, a few weeks went by and the boy managed to pull up all of his grades. He went back to his father and showed him his progress, then asked if he could have the keys. The dad said, “I’m sorry son, but you didn’t get your hair cut.” Indignant, the boy grumbled, “Come on Dad, even Jesus had long hair!” The father smiled as he said, “Yep, and Jesus walked everywhere he went too.”
Although, Enoch lived in a day and age long before automobiles and airplanes—even before chariots or the horse and buggy—that isn’t the kind of walking the Holy Spirit had in mind here. The term walk, as it’s used in the Bible, is synonymous with a person’s way of life. How you walk, in other words, is how you live your life. Enoch lived his life in a way that was pleasing to God.
It’s interesting that the phrasing of this verse could imply that it wasn’t until the birth of Enoch’s son Methuselah that he began walking with God. Having a baby changes things doesn’t it? Remember life before children? You could do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, wherever you wanted. You could focus on your career or your education. Something about having children, though, teaches us to look outside ourselves. Suddenly, it’s not all about me anymore! We begin to live our lives for other people—especially our children. That’s what Enoch did. He began to live his life in a way that made God smile. So, what did he do? How did he walk that made him so special?
Well, I think we find a clue in Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. He writes, “I…urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV). Essentially, Paul is saying that if we want to lead a life worthy of someone whose been chosen by God, then we need to have an attitude of humility and gentleness, of patience, acceptance and love.