Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Enoch walked with God

18 July 2017
            I’ve never been a big fan of personality tests. Over the years I have taken several; the results have been dubious at best (for example, I once took a theology test that pegged me as an Evangelical Quaker, whatever that is). My main concern with these tests is that my answers reflect more of what I would like to be-or see myself as-than who I am. One result that consistently appears, however, is a tendency to know things intuitively and be content with the knowing. In other words, logic and application have never been my strong suits.
            I mention all this because it speaks to the nature of and reason for these blogs-I write them because I enjoy doing it. They are not intended to be theological commentaries or life application guides (although both may appear from time to time). These blogs are pretty much just reflections-musings, if you will-of what I see as I think about what I’m reading.
            It is in this spirit of reflection that we approach Enoch. Genesis itself doesn’t tell us much about him. He was seventh in the line beginning with Seth and the first whom God took in an unnatural manner; the other two being Moses (cf. Deut.34:1-8) and Elijah (2Ki.9:12); he walked with God and then he was no more, because God took him. Cain and his line, driven from God’s presence, founded a city but remained plagued by violence, culminating with Lamech’s boast (Ge. 4:23-24). Seth’s line calls on the name of the LORD-implying personal relationship, culminating in Enoch walking with God.
            Now, there is a difference between calling on the name of the LORD (the NRSV has invoke, the NLT reads ‘worship the LORD by name’) and walking with God. The Hebrew word for call can mean to name, to invoke, to proclaim out loud, to cry out for help. Since the word could mean any of those things the writer/editor may have had all of them in mind. Humankind, recognizing the LORD for who He is, proclaimed His name, invoked His presence, cried out for help. The other side of that is humankind may have been summoning God merely to have Him bless their plans rather than seeking His guidance, a tendency which remains to this day (for some interesting remarks on how this relates to human pride, check out Rick Warren’s Daily Hope for today). I have said many times here and elsewhere, way too much time is spent today seeking God’s blessing for our will and not nearly enough time learning to discern God’s will and hear His voice.
            Which, evidently, Enoch did learn to do. The Hebrew word for walk implies habitual conduct. Enoch must have lived in close personal relationship with God. Relationships require talking and listening, time in each other’s presence (without talking at all), some type of commitment and, on Enoch’s part, a level of trust in God’s ability to define right and wrong. And to act according to God’s definitions. Walking with God goes beyond simply invoking His presence; we are now moving into the realm of discipleship, of abide in me and you will bear much fruit, of I in them and you in me (Jn.15:4; 17:20-24).
            So, the question becomes, are we invoking God’s name for our own benefit? Or will we embark on a deliberate course of action to produce the change of character God offers? Enoch walked with God and was no more, a little word-picture of what discipleship means. He must increase and I must decrease until the new creation comes, no longer I but Christ in me (Jn.3:30; 2 Cor.5:17, gal. 2:20). Take some time to be still and know He is God; see if He will not guide you in the way you should go (Ps.46:10; 32:8-9).


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