Saturday, July 5, 2008

WALKING BUDDIES: Part 2 - Walkin' the Walk- July 6, 2008

In my opinion, genealogy (like that in the Bible) is b-o-r-i-n-g. But, employing my imaginative ear, I discovered a melodic lilt in the Genesis genealogy. Listen to this account of Adam’s son, Seth:

“When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh.
And after he became the father of Enosh.
Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters.
Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died.”
Genesis 5:6-8 NIV

Sounds a bit like, “Father Abraham,” that catchy tune about Abraham’s many sons, don’t you think? Well, maybe not so much.

For six generations in Adam’s family tree, you can simply fill in the blanks and the reading flows smoothly—until you get to Enoch. Like the other accounts, we learn that Enoch was 65 when his son, Methuselah was born, he lived another 300 years, had other sons and daughters, yadda, yadda, yadda. But the end of his life has an interesting twist:

Enoch walked with God;
then he was no more, because God took him away.”
Genesis 5:21-24 NIV)

I’m glad I had my morning dose of caffeine, otherwise, I might have read right over this intriguing digression from convention. Did Enoch walk with God face to face, like Great-great-great Grandpa Adam did in the Garden of Eden? What does “he was no more” mean? And, from where, and to where, did God take this mysterious man? Enoch didn’t walk the walk of his ancestors, or of his descendants, for that matter—but evidently he did walk with God.

So what happened? Did Enoch set out for work one day and never come home? When the setting sun slipped below the horizon, was Enoch’s wife sick with worry? If I had been her, my mind would have been wild with wondering if my dear husband had been abducted by a caravan from afar and carried off and forced into slavery. So did Enoch’s family report him as missing? Did they send out a search party?

How was it determined that God took Enoch away? Did someone witness his disappearance? Imagine how Enoch’s wife might have felt when she learned that her beloved had, indeed, been taken, not by evil-doers, but by God. Did she buy this story? Was she aggrieved, and yet, relieved? Or did she think the news-bearer was a lunatic?

In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul tells us that, “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.” (Hebrews 5:11 NIV)
In the only other New Testament reference to Enoch, Jude reports that he was a prophet:

“Enoch…prophesied about these men: ‘See, the Lord is coming…to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’” (Jude 1:14-15 NIV)

Sounds like Enoch was a doom and gloom prophet, but, unfortunately, he was right. Enoch’s great-grandson, Noah, and his family, may have witnessed the fulfillment of this very prophecy, from the safety of the ark during the torrential flooding of the earth.

However Enoch disappeared, we at least know that God was in control and that Enoch was in great standing with God.

The English clergyman, Matthew Henry (famous for his Bible commentary from the turn of the18th century), describes Enoch’s walking with God as, “his constant care and work; while others lived to themselves and the world, he lived to God. It was the joy of his life.”

While Enoch remains a mystery to me, I know enough about him that I want to follow in his footsteps. He had an intimate, walking-buddy relationship with God. He courageously confronted ungodliness and proclaimed God’s truth. Enoch obviously set a wonderful example for his progeny, for Noah, his great-grandson was also a man who walked with God. (“Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” Genesis 6:9)

Enoch “walked the walk”—God’s walk.

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