The Path of God’s Pleasure (1)
Of all the aged men of whom we read in Genesis 5, Enoch’s life was the shortest. Amid the nine hundred and more years attained to by one and another, his three hundred and sixty-five appear to be quite a brief period.
But he stands out solitarily as the one of whom the mournful words “and he died” are not recorded. Concerning the end of his pathway it is stated: “And he was not, for God took him.” Thus he is honoured in a peculiar way on the Sacred page. For him the power of death was set aside. For him the power of God was asserted in an unusual way.
That which we know of the man so specially favoured is recorded in very brief manner in very few verses. Genesis 5:18-24; Luke 3:27; Hebrews 11:5 and Jude 14-15 contain all that is revealed concerning him.
If, however, we ponder over these slight references we may discover much of interest and profit.
As the son of Jared he is first introduced to our attention. For some reason unknown his name Enoch was bestowed upon him. Its meaning is “a breath” or “vanity.” It seems to present before us the passing, fading character of man’s life. It says to us that man being in honour abideth not; he is “like the beasts that perish,” that man walketh in a vain show in the midst of a world where “all is vanity” and “a pursuit of the wind” and where “they speak vanity every one with his neighbour.” Here then is man in his natural condition in the midst of “the passing show” which is soon to end under the judgment of God. Surrounded by such a condition of things Enoch’s early days were passed and, until he was sixty-five, there seems to have been nothing uncommon in his career. At that age, however, a son was born to him to whom was given the name Methuselah, which is said to mean, “In his days it shall come,” and is thought to refer to the deluge which occurred the year after his death.
The time of the birth of his son appears to have marked the time of Enoch’s
TURNING TO GOD
for from that period we read, “Enoch walked with God.” Evidently something remarkable transpired to bring about the change which these words indicate. It would appear as if he was “converted” then—to use New Testament language. The account of it is not given, but the result of it is seen. And from that hour until the moment of his translation he continued in his holy happy pathway,
TRAVELLING WITH GOD.
It is to be noticed that Enoch’s walk with God is the first walk of a believer mentioned in Scripture. The Lord God walked in the Garden of Eden—but Adam and Eve had sinned and could not walk with Him. Now amid abounding and increasing evil one steps out from the rest of mankind to travel in what humanly speaking was a lonely way. But “with God” there is no loneliness “There is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee,” said the Psalmist at a later day, or, as it has been translated, “Having Thee on earth I want none else.” All who walk with God have the same tale to tell of entire satisfaction in His presence. What, then, is it to walk with God? We may learn by contrast perhaps. Man in his natural condition pursues his way according to his own will. He is controlled by the customs of his fellows, by the fashions of the age, and, behind these and unseen, by the prince of the power of the air—the devil—the spirit which now worketh in the children of disobedience. In his rebellious self-will and insubjection to God he endeavours to find pleasure in the company of his fellow rebels, not only fulfilling his own lusts but having fellow delight with those who walk in the same evil way. To walk with God a man must leave all this which is so contrary and seek only that which is in accordance with His mind. From Enoch’s prophecy, to which I shall refer again later, we may gather that ungodliness was rife among the men of his day. Four times over the word “ungodly” is used concerning the character of the subjects of judgment at the Lord’s return. And the Apostle Peter uses the same term when describing the world which was destroyed by the flood. To be ungodly is to be without God. “No God for me” is the utterance of the lip and life of such.
Enoch “walked with God.” He left the No-God-for-me company, going on henceforth in separation from them because in separation to God.
Forming an acrostic, may we not put as he prophesies, saying it thus? To walk with God is to be
Willing to do His will whatever the cost maybe. To
Acknowledge His authority over us in all things. To
Look to Him to direct us day by day in the path of His choice. To
Keep His way whoever may turn
from it and wheresoever it may lead.
And this is always the path of blessing and of peace and of prosperity. It is the path of God’s pleasure for His own in which He delights to be with them for their succour and support.
The result of Enoch’s course was that
TESTIMONY FROM GOD
was rendered to him that he was pleasing to God. In what form this witness was given we know not, nor does it matter. Sufficient for us it is to know that in some unmistakeable way the knowledge was conveyed to him that he was acting in accordance with the mind of God.
Blessed indeed is the man who has such a testimony from his Maker, who knows that his conduct is approved of Him—that his words and ways are agreeable in His sight.
And this is possible for us today. The Lord Himself promised, “If a man love Me he will keep My words: and My Father will love Him, and we will come unto Him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23); and again, “If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in, and sup with him, and he with Me.” These passages plainly show that the Lord will set his mark of approval upon the one whose pathway pleases Him. To such the special privilege is granted of being aware that they are acting according to His holy will and word.
As a result, doubtless, of his constancy and devotedness Enoch became intelligent in God’s mind, for intelligence ever follows devotedness, and His purpose was made known to him. We find him
TESTIFYING FOR GOD
“The Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 14-15).
The patriarch lived in the light of the future as though it were already present. He sees the Lord come in the midst of His holy myriads. The world already condemned by Enoch’s walk was about to be judged by the Lord in company with all His own who, like Enoch, had stood apart from it in their way on earth.
The generation of ungodly men of whom Enoch spoke still continues. The flood came and destroyed a part of it; the judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah cut off another part of it later. But yet it exists. Man lives in neglect of God still, and judgment must do its work. Ungodly deeds have been committed—ungodly speeches have been spoken against Him, and man’s ungodliness has culminated in the rejection and murder of God’s Son when in grace He came into the world.
It is perhaps five thousand years since Enoch uttered his prophecy, and as yet it awaits its fulfilment which draws near.
Remarkably enough that prophecy passes over the rest of the patriarchal age, the age of law, of kings, of prophets, of Israel’s supremacy, of the times of the Gentiles. It makes no mention of the ministry and sufferings of our Lord nor of the present period in which the church—His bride—is being gathered out to share with Him His coming glories. It looks down the long avenue of the centuries and focuses its gaze on the manifestation in glory of the Lord together with the saints gathered out of all those dispensations.
Today creation groans in pain. Earth mourns the rejection of the Messiah and cries aloud for Him. And what is in view? Maranatha! The Lord cometh! Hallelujah.
By His cross and passion He has won for Himself myriads of companions for the day of His glory. They walked with Him during the hour of His patience—they will appear with Him in the hour of His power.
For three hundred years Enoch pursued his way of godliness, enjoying the knowledge that his course pleased God, and bearing his testimony by life and lip.
Then came that exceptional day when he was
TRANSLATED BY GOD,
when a man was removed from the world in a way “that he should not see death,” The marked man was a missed man. From Hebrews 11 we learn “he was not found.” He had walked with God and witnessed for God during three centuries, but now he was gone, whither they knew not.
A little child in telling his story put it thus, “Enoch walked so far with God that God took him home.” She summarized it well. Enoch is “at home” with Him with whom he travelled so far, and for whom he testified so faithfully.
We know not how it was accomplished—nor is it necessary that we should. The power of God intervened, and out of a scene of sin and death the servant was caught away.
In 1 Thessalonians Enoch’s history is seen repeating itself in some sort in the church of God. They had turned to God from their idols (chap. 1:9). They were serving Him now in the midst of surrounding ungodliness (chap. 1:10). They were taught to walk so as to please God (chap. 3:1). They were testifying to those around (chap. 1:8). They were awaiting the hour of their translation (chap. 4:16-17), and looking forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints (chap. 3:13), when judgment would fall on the ungodly world around them (chap. 5:2-3).
Enoch is seen in one other Scripture in connection with the genealogy of our Lord. In Luke 3 his name is found in this thrice honourable association. With his forbears and successors he is glorified by being named in that favoured list, his name of weakness being thus linked with the name of omnipotence on the page of history.
And may we not say that in some sort the opportunity is afforded us today of having our all-unworthy names associated with His all-worthy name. If we are found standing for His interests and confessing His name in this passing world has He not promised that He will confess our names before His Father which is in heaven. That will be a place in history which will abide when all human histories pass from remembrance
“And like the baseless fabric of a vision
Leave not a wrack behind.”
Enoch overcame the world. In his course he is seen victorious over all its sin and seduction, and thus he stands prominent as one whose faith we are called to follow as we pursue our pathway of pilgrimage here awaiting the hour of Christ’s manifestation in triumph.