One of the earliest lights that shone brightly in a dark scene was Enoch. God speaks approvingly of this man, and surely there is a reason why he is mentioned immediately after Abel in God’s hall of faithful men (Heb 11). We would all want to be listed in God’s record of men, for when this life is over, what else matters? But if we would have our names listed, we must live for God in our own day God bore witness to them (Heb 11:39), and His approval is left for us to seek for our lives.
The Darkness of Enoch’s Day
Gathering together all the information God gives us from Jude 14, 15 (note context) and Genesis 4:18-26,6:1-13, we team that in his day it was not easy to walk with God. Some seem to think that if the circumstances of our lives were different, as they supposedly were in the past, we could walk with God and live by faith more easily. But it has never been easy. We mustn’t make excuses for our failure and lack of desire by blaming society. Enoch’s world was full of rebellion, anarchy was increasing, man’s knowledge was superior, but with no desire for God or the knowledge of God’s ways (job 22:15-17). Men were satisfied to think of God as their Benefactor, but their hearts were wicked and without any desire for His control.
It was a day of moral corruption. Cain’s lawless behavior was continued in his descendants. Their names indicate their moral and spiritual condition: Irad (a wild ass), Mehujael (blot ye out that Jehovah is God), Lamech (powerful), and Methusael (they died who are of God). Jabal and Jubal indicate the development of civilization without God, making this cursed scene a more comfortable place to live with its enjoyments and pleasures. Anyone who becomes involved in a world system should consider its roots and characteristics from the beginning. Tubalcain was a forger of cutting instruments of brass and iron (Spurrel) and seems to be involved with Lamech’s violence. Not only was Lamech marked by violence, but he also introduced polygamy, contrary to God’s original purpose for marriage. He lifted his voice in a rebellious song, celebrating his vengeance over another man and his intent to exceed God’s vengeance regarding Cain (4:15, 24).
It is amazing to us today that in the midst of great strides in civilization and much talk about harmony, man’s heart has only increased toward more self-will, independence and lawlessness. Enoch’s day was full of rampant wickedness so that every imagination of man’s heart was only evil all the time. No doubt this indicates God’s estimate of the refined, civilized thoughts of men, but without desires for God in their lives. God calls anything of self-will and independence of Himself “evil” and “wicked”. We must carefully guard our own thoughts as believers, lest there should creep into our minds an evil thought of unbelief in departing from the living God (Heb 3:12). Evil reached such a height that God was grieved and He determined to destroy man.
It was in such a day that Enoch walked with God. Isn’t that amazing? Could any of us take cover under any excuse when we compare his day and circumstances with ours? Men walk with God and live for God, shining brightly in the darkness, despite the conditions of their day, with determination to be a contrast with the world’s character around them. God calls His people to live, not “under the circumstances”, but above them!
His walk had a beginning! He had a time when he began to walk with God. Linked with the birth of a son, Methuselah, he began this walk. What did that have to do with it? It seems that God revealed to him that this world was under judgment. That is implied from what he says in Jude 14-15 as well as in what he named his son. Jude quotes his prophecy in connection with the rebellious, lawless character of those he is considering’ indicating that Enoch’s day was the same. He looked on an ungodly world, filled with ungodly deeds, men with ungodly attitudes and with an ungodly character, and he saw it as a world ripening for the righteous judgment of God. God revealed to him that judgment was inevitably coming; as a result, Enoch withdrew from involvement and association with that world and sided with God. He walked in agreement with God, for he saw the world in that condition as well. He was not like those in James 4:4 who, though they should have walked with God, were determined to be friends (loved by and loving) of the world (in closest intimacy).
In addition, having entered into the mind of God regarding certain judgment, he named his son Methuselah (when he is dead, it shall be sent). Name meanings are not always certain, but considering the chronology of this section, it seems that the timing of the flood’s coming was linked with the death of this son. Surely this was one reason for Methuselah’s renowned long life, “the longsuffering of God waited” (I Pet 3:20). Every consideration of that son would remind Enoch of what was coming and reinforce his determination to walk with God.
His walk had character! It was marked by full agreement with God’s mind and will. Amos asks, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). Fellowship demands agreement with God. His walk had the mark of godliness about it, for he was walking in fellowship with God. It was a separated walk, a consecrated walk and a walk with the savor of God’s presence about it. Adam, through sin, lost that walk with God in the garden where perfection reigned, but Enoch, through separation from sin, regained and enjoyed it in a defiled scene. His walk was a testimony to the world around. He didn’t bear testimony by seeking to mix with the world to try to improve it. Some would try to do that today, but it will always fail. Positive testimony for God is always linked with godliness and separation in character and life.
The Final Step to Glory
Enoch walked steadily and constantly with God. That bright light continued unextinguished before men until a moment came when it was gone. Men likely wondered what had happened to Enoch and perhaps they had many plausible explanations. The man who had walked with God in life, moved up and on to walk with God in eternity. God’s approval of his life and character was revealed when He took him up and out of a world that was soon to experience the flood. What a picture of you and me today! The church at the end of this era, awaiting the rapture, believers walking with God and enjoying fellowship and harmony with Him in a defiled scene! He suggests to us an application of Hebrews 9:28, “Unto them that look for Him shall He appear.” We are reminded of the promise to the Thessalonian believers, (I Thess 1:10), “to await His Son from the heavens, even Jesus, our deliverer from the coming wrath.” (JND)
What are you or I living for? What is our relationship with this ungodly world? Where would our lives fall in a comparison between Enoch and Lot? One walked with God in separation from an evil world; the other tried to live for God in association with an evil and ungodly environment. Are we those who are seeing “good things” in a world that God must judge? May the Lord give exercise and help so that in this dark scene, our light might shine for Him and His honor, until He comes!