This is NOT an exercise post! While some preachers – mostly female ones – seem to veer off the path of teaching truth and onto the edges of preaching some kind of self-help Christian diet plan, I will do nothing of the sort. Rather, let me tell you about something I find interesting in the Bible:
There are some fascinating walks in the Bible. Think of some of the instances of people walking and you will get what I mean. Daniel walked out of the lions’ den. Moses walked between the water. Adam walked with God. You and I take a forty minute long walk to boost our heart rates (maybe not as often as we should!) and we think we have done well. Imagine the walking around Jericho when the walls came down or the walk Ezekiel took through the skeletons-becoming-people.
Let me just focus on one guy who had an amazing walk. We do not know very much about him so some of this post will be pure speculation. However, I think what we do know about him will allow us to draw out a little lesson for ourselves.
When is the last time you thought about Enoch?
Who is This Man?
The Enoch I am talking about (there are at least two) was the son of Jared and the father of Methusaleh. He lived for 365 years and his story is found in Genesis Chapter Five. It is a pretty short account, really. Let me quote it here:
“When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”
And that is all. Well, nearly. Enoch is mentioned twice more in the Bible (four times if you include a couple of genealogies in Chronicles and Luke’s Gospel). Before I mention those, let’s take a look at Enoch from Genesis.
There are two remarkable things about Enoch’s life: its routine and its end.
Enoch routinely walked with God. “Faithfully,” it says. Actually, this word faithfully is not in the original language exactly but is required to understand the sense of the passage. Enoch’s walking with God was not extraordinary because of its exercise value. Rather, Enoch walked with God faithfully even when the rest of the world was getting progressively more and more evil. Genesis Chapter Six finds God unfolding the judgement of the Flood due to the ungodliness of the the people. In contrast, Enoch walked with God faithfully and consistently.
The end of Enoch’s walking was, of course, rather different from what I experience after a bit of exercise. While my out of shape body might feel close to death, i am not actually going to die. Yet the end of Enoch’s walking was “he was no more.” The English Standard Version reads simply “…and he was not, for God took him.” Why did God do this? Perhaps God was sparing Enoch a life spent in a depraved world. I heard one person explain it like this:
“Enoch was walking with God one day. God and Enoch walked together for a long, long time. Finally God said to him, “Enoch, My friend, we have been walking a long time together. Now we are closer to My house than we are to yours. Why don’t you just come home with Me today?””
Enoch’s life was routinely lived with God. His end was not horrible but was instead an outworking of this closeness to God.
The Other Bits
I mentioned two other parts of the Bible which say something about Enoch. The first is Hebrews 11:5, which tells us Enoch was taken away so he did not experience death. It says specifically Enoch pleased God with the way he lived and so he did not experience death.
In Jude there is a prophecy spoken by Enoch:
“It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.””
Enoch saw clearly the sin of the people around him and the holiness of the God who not permit this sin to remain forever.
We can learn something from Enoch. The key principle is consistency. This is true for exercise. Real gains are made when exercise becomes a daily pattern of life. Little by little we change to become more fit and more healthy. The same is true for our lives and walks with God. If we are consistent then we will change, little by little, to become able to walk both farther and further with God.
The result of this walking will be the same for us as it was for Enoch. No, I do not mean to say we will be taken away. Instead we will live in such a way we please God. If we are full of the faith it takes to trust God every day and to go His way every day then that same faith will please God.
We will also become aware of the separation of God from the world. God’s final judgement is God’s final separation. Enoch saw it by faith and when we walk with God and please God we too will come to understand the righteousness and love of God which demand judgement. This awareness is not all negative! If we can grasp a little more fully the reality and horridness of sin and judgement then our motivation to really promote the Kingdom of God will grow.
So there it is: grow the Kingdom of God through biblical walking like Enoch: faithfully day by day.