Summary: Creation, Pt. 5
TALK THE TALK AND WALK THE WALK (GENESIS 5:20-23)
I asked my good friend Rev. Michael Wu on an internet chat: “I am working on Enoch, do you have anything to say about him to my congregation?” After an awkward pause, these words appeared on my monitor: “Enoch is one of the two youngest board members of our church. Born in LACAC (church). 26 years-old. Enoch means steady - word root related to Amen in Hebrew. Maybe his parents want him to be steady in following Christ. I pray for that definitely.”
Of all the fifteen identified heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, Enoch’s story in Genesis is the shortest text, with the brightest hope, and the least mentioned today. Like others, I had reasons to skip Enoch. Twice in ten years, I had the opportunity to preach this passage, but passed on it because there was so much theology, so little text, and the task so uneasy.
A little Sunday school girl said this about Enoch: “Enoch was a man who learned to walk with God, and they used to take long walks together. One day they walked so far that God said, ’Look, Enoch, it’s too far for you to go back; just come on home with me.’ So he walked on home with God.”
The phrase “walked with God” refers to the abundant life and blessed fellowship with God, the greatest spiritual experience of our loves. The only other person to do so was Noah (Gen 6:9), Enoch’s great grandson born 69 years after Enoch was taken up. The theological implication of Enoch’s transportation to heaven is monumental: Adam and Eve were driven from the garden, the tree of life was guarded, consequently the repeated pronouncement and epitaph in Genesis 5 “and he died” was the fate of all men. Man’s first real physical death was recorded in the same chapter. Beginning from Adam, through six generations before (5:5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20) and two after Enoch’s era (5:27, 30), everyone except Enoch died. Not only did he not die, he had no negative review, brightened with a lengthy, steady, and daily relationship with God.
What characterizes a man who is so close to God? Is it attainable, sustainable and practical? What profits those who spend substantial quality time with God?
Add Life to Your Years of Existence
20 Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died. 21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. (Gen 5:20-22)
A London newspaper once offered an attractive cash prize for the best answer to this question: “Which is the shortest trip to London?” Letters poured in, theories sprang up, and readers followed the outcome closely until the sponsors announced the prize-winning answer. The winning entry was this: “The shortest way to London is good company.” (7,700 Illustrations # 3903)
No matter how far the distance and rough the trip, the travel is short and sweet with the right company.
Attending classes under great men like Dallas Willard, Warren Wiersbe, Calvin Miller and Larry Crabb made a great impact and a remarkable change in my life and service. Up till then, I have listened to many good preachers: Haddon Robinson, Charles Swindoll, John Stott, Bill Hybels, and Rick Warren, bought their tapes, read their books, and had heard some of them in the seminary chapel, churches, and conferences.
When I was a student at Dallas Seminary in my late 20’s, interaction with the professors was rare, short and formal. Ten years later, when I took classes under Willard, Wiersbe, Miller, and Crabb in a smaller classroom environment of about 10-25 fellow pastors for my Doctor of Ministry degree, I began to actively ask questions, comment on the issue at hand, and interact confidently, spontaneously and hungrily with professors and fellow students. Slowly the quiet, passive bystander in me disappeared. I picked up points here and there, other students shared their ups and downs, and the professors opened up their lives – the highs and lows of family life, kids, and ministry. I grew by leaps and bounds, learned bits and pieces, and things made sense, fell into place and good things happen. I blossomed, thrived and matured faster than I imagined under proper tutelage.
My wife exclaimed: “Wow, I was thinking then, ‘You spent thousands of dollars studying, especially thousands of dollars for that Dallas Willard class, and nothing happened.’ Then suddenly you are putting up internet sermons, teaching at seminary and writing for publication.” Actually, it was $2,248 for the Fuller class with Willard, I checked. $1,600 for the course, and $648 for housing and seclusion at a monastery.
Walking with spiritual giants is dizzying, invigorating and humbling. Walking with God is the road least traveled, but the healthiest activity and the best safeguard in life. Those who walk on this road and travel on this journey do not wear and tear, wax and wane, or waver and doubt.