Rosa Parks refused to yield her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus on December 1, 1955, and became a lightning rod for the polarized sides of the civil rights movement. She was hailed for her courage; but her reply to that was simply, “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.” Courage for her was doing what was right.
Throughout history those who have courageously stood for principles, though persecuted in their own generations, have attracted the admiration of succeeding generations. Rising above those who have accomplished great feats in society or sacrificed themselves for the welfare of others are the lives of men and women of God who have advanced the cause of the kingdom of God.
Among the men and women who lived for God before the flood, the record of Enoch stands out. He is mentioned five times in Scripture. Setting aside the inclusion of his name in the two genealogic records (1Chron 1:1; Luke 3:37), we have the Spirit of God’s comments on his life in Genesis 5, Hebrews 11:5, and Jude 14.
His Pathway – Genesis 5
Most of us would relegate the quality of courage to the bold proclamation of coming judgment which Enoch delivered to a godless generation. But it takes courage, as well, to walk in separation from the world and in fellowship with God. “Enoch walked with God” is the summary which Moses gives of Enoch’s life. Amidst the pressures of family life and the atmosphere of an ungodly world, and in light of coming judgment, he walked with God.
Courage is needed to raise our children counter-culture. The demands on parents to train up their children in ways other than those that please God are huge. Even to discipline a child and to teach values contrary to what is being taught in educational circles demands courage. We need not think that our society has taken quantum leaps over the pre-flood world. It is likely that evil abounded in some of the same forms as it does today. It was a society and age in which it demanded courage to live for God in family life.
The Pleasure He Brought to God
The great truth of Hebrews 11:5, 6 is that Enoch lived by faith. Living by the principle of faith resulted in his pleasing God. Apart from faith, God gets no pleasure from the words and works of His people. One might rightly ask, “In what sense did Enoch walk by faith?” Faith is not what the skeptic refers to as a blind leap in the dark, something contrary to reason. Faith is a step into the light of God’s Word. It is ordering and living my life based upon what God has revealed to me in His Word.
At the birth of Methuselah, God revealed to Enoch that at the death of Methuselah, judgment in the form of a flood would descend upon the world. From that moment on, Enoch ordered his life in keeping with that truth. While the line of Cain was busy erecting cities and making an industry and society in which man could live, work, and find pleasure apart from God (Gen 4:16-24), Enoch walked with God; he was living for a world to come. In so doing, he walked with God and he pleased God. This kind of walk takes courage.
It demands courage to live by totally different principles than your neighbors do. It takes courage to run a business by faith, to be an employee who puts the Scriptures into practice in regards to work ethic and relationships with other employees. It is much easier to “bend and blend” than to “stand and stand out” because of principles.
Jude gives us a hitherto unknown glimpse into Enoch’s life. He reminds us that he was the seventh from Adam and that he prophesied. Here is the first prophecy from a man in the Scripture. Surprisingly, it refers to the end times of history. Enoch prophesied of the Corruption of society. Four times over he mentions the word “ungodly.” They were ungodly men, who performed ungodly deeds, who spoke ungodly words, and lived ungodly lives. He spoke of the Condemnation of such a society. And he prophesied of the Coming of the righteous Judge: “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints” saints” (v14, KJV)
Preaching of this nature demands courage. Imagine standing outside near your home in a public space and heralding this message to neighbors and work associates! Courage of an extraordinary nature would be needed to be faithful with such a message.
He “was not found, because God had translated him” (Heb 11:5, KJV). Could it be that men were so enraged by the preaching of Enoch that they were looking for him to kill him? But they could not find him because God knew of their murderous intent and took his faithful servant away.
Courage is not something you leave home with every morning ready to do battle with the world. It is a quality which the Spirit of God ministers to us when needed. It is not really fear conquered or fear canceled; it is fear controlled by the grace and courage the Spirit of God provides. He did it for Enoch and He has not diminished in His ability or resources.