Walking Faithfully with God: learning from the legacy of Enoch

One of the most interesting, yet brief, characters in the primeval histories of Genesis 1-11 must be Enoch. In just four short verses, we catch a glimpse of someone whose distinguishing mark in life was that he “walked faithfully with God” (Genesis 5:22, 24). Enoch has one of the shortest quantities of life recorded in Genesis 5, but he undoubtedly has the most distinguished quality of life in that chapter.

The concept of walking faithfully with God is used in reference to only two other characters in all the book of Genesis: Adam (indirectly in Genesis 1 and 2) and Noah (6:9). Certainly, some of the later patriarchs are describes as walking faithfully before God (24:40; 48:15), but there is a different quality of intimacy to the walk with God which Enoch, Noah, and Adam enjoyed.

We do not know much about whether Enoch experienced difficult times or easy times in his life (although the extra-biblical 1 and 2 Enoch provide some imaginative explorations). Given what we read about the state of the world during the expansion of evil, we can assume Enoch’s life experiences were not all that different from others during this time, and perhaps not all that different from our own. Undoubtedly, his life included beauty and difficulty, love and discord. Yet, amidst all this, Enoch walked faithfully with God. His is one of the few lives described in the Bible as not exactly ending but being taken to God directly (see Elijah in 2 Kings 2:11 for another notable example). I wonder sometimes if Enoch walked so closely with God that he walked right out of his days into the presence of the Eternal One without even noticing.

One of the most famous summaries of the life with God arises from the lips of the prophet Micah:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8)

Micah’s memorable statement describes what it looks like to walk faithfully with God. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that was the summary description someone would give of our life? “This person,” they would say after we were gone, “walked faithfully with God.” If there were only four short sentences to narrate our life, there would be no better description we might aspire to.

Some may say such a report is beyond us, and only for the high holy ones or super saints. But, of course, the Gospels reveal this is not the case. The incarnation of Jesus reminds us that God draws near to the ordinary with His glorious presence, making company with ordinary fisherman and homemakers, tax collectors and prostitutes. Jesus called His disciples His family (Matthew 12:48-50) and promised to never depart from them (28:20). Even ordinary you and me can walk faithfully with God through Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So, why not start the adventure of life with God now? Why not make today the day when we take one more step closer to God? Why not reach out in prayer, to talk to God, to ask Him for help, to confess our need and sin, and to thank Him for everyday mercy and grace? Why not let this very moment be the one where we ask God to teach us the way to walk faithfully with Him all our lives. Maybe, just maybe, we might walk right out of our days and into the presence of the Eternal One without even noticing.

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