Summary: What was it about Enoch’s life that resulted in the commendation of Hebrews 11:5 Enoch … had this testimony, that he pleased God.
He pleased God – Heb 11:5
Hebrews 11:5 Enoch … had this testimony, that he pleased God.
What a wonderful epitaph – Enoch pleased God – or at least it would have been if there had been a tombstone to write it on! (More on that another time.)
What won him this commendation? In one way the question is easy to answer because this phrase is an alternative translation of something from Genesis that we have already considered. It is taken from the Septuagint’s translation of the Hebrew words in Genesis that he walked with God. Paul also linked them “how ye ought to walk and to please God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). To please God we must walk with Him and, conversely, we can’t walk with Him unless we want to please Him!
Summarising what we saw last time, Enoch:
· had communion with God – that involved talking and listening (prayer and Bible study)
· had a surrendered will
· had godly habits
· kept company with those who walked with God
· enjoyed deep settled joy and peace
· raised a family in a way that honoured God and maintained the godly line to Noah
· made progress in his spiritual life. a growth in the knowledge of the Lord – a deeper appreciation of God’s excellency, a greater enjoyment of His perfection and a more earnest concern for His glory
There is, however, a difference of emphasis between the phrases. Walking involves action, pleasing is about motivation. Enoch walked with God because he wanted to please Him.
Next time we shall, God willing, see how Enoch witnessed and preached about coming judgement. This is also crucial to pleasing God. As Paul put it in 1Th 2:4 as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
Why did Enoch want to please God?
First, lets think about this from our own experience. Why do we want to please someone else? There are two main reasons. Firstly we want recognition from a superior –the key driver for many people at work. If we impress our bosses then perhaps we’ll get promoted or a pay rise; at least we won’t get the sack if things go badly. Often it doesn’t work and just leads to exploitation.
The other reason is love. We try to please someone that we love, our husband, wife, children or parents. We want them to be happy because we love them and so we put their interests before our own. We expect no financial or other rewards, but making those we love happy also makes us happy. That is true love and it must be our driving motivation ¾ if we are to please God.
The question is: do we want to please the Lord? We say that we love Him, but this is the true test. Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious. 1Pe 2:7 Is Jesus precious to us? Do we want to gladden His heart? Do we long to hear His well done? "His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;… Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Mt 25:21 Is this what drives us, or is it the desire for material possessions and the pleasures that this world offers? Lk 12:31 "But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. … 34 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
In all ages some have pleased God and it should be the aim of us all. It is possible, despite our imperfections and weakness, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit. Ro 8:8 those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. If we live to please the Lord, we are only acting as we ought to act. For we ought to please the one who made us, died to save us and, even now, lives to sustain us. He is our Lord and God. Pleasing Him is the highest calling.
Do we really want to be those upon whom God smiles? The approval of our fellow men is pleasant, but people are imperfect and often mistaken. We may please them and yet may be anything but righteous, indeed it is more often than not that way. God makes no such mistakes.
Our greatest example in this is our Lord Himself. Jesus declared that He always did what pleased His Father John 8: 28 I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 … I always do those things that please Him." Clearly this was not an idle boast for the Father confirmed it: a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" Mt 17:5 It is crystal clear that, as He pleased His Father, He also helped men and women in so many ways. If we are to please God we must follow in His steps.