Genesis 5:24 - What Was So Special about the Relationship Between Enoch and God?
When the Bible tells us that Enoch walked with God (Gen 5:22, 24), it says that Enoch knew and experienced the nearness, fellowship, and closeness of God. God was so much part of his daily life that the presence, the help, and the guidance of God were at the center of his life. He knew God. He had fellowship with God. God was his portion and this was his regular experience.
What was so special about this?
1. It was a Relationship that did not Arise from Nature
Genesis 3 through 6 describes the first development of man after the Fall. We have the first account of murder, the death of Abel, the first occasion of lust when Lamech took to himself two wives, the first description of covetousness and greed, etc. We have the picture unfolding of man fallen away from God and what happens to man in that condition. Genesis 6:5 summarizes it:
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
The early chapters of Genesis remind us of God's original purpose for man. Genesis 5:1: "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him." Man is unique in this world. He doesn't belong in any real sense to the animal creation; he is made in the likeness of God, in the image of God. In other words, he is made for communion with God, for the companionship of God. That was the situation in the Garden of Eden. Paradise was a place of harmony between God and man. God was light, and man was light. God was holy, and man was holy. Man walked with God. Paradise was a place of fellowship with God. That was the purpose of His creation.
In Genesis 3 we see all that ruined. Through wilful disobedience man broke the fellowship with God, no longer desired to be in "the presence of the LORD God", and hid himself "from the presence of the LORD God" (Gen 3:8). From then on that has been the truth about our state by nature. We are no longer like God. We no longer by nature enjoy the presence of God. God is holy, but we are carnal. God is spiritual, but we are earthly and sin-bound. God is sovereign, and we are rebels. God says to man in Isaiah 55:8: "...My thoughts are not your thoughts". Scripture says: "There is none that ... seeks after God" (Romans 3:11). Yet we read in Genesis 5:22, 24: "Enoch walked with God".
2. It was a Relationship that was marked by God's Grace
When we read that "Enoch walked with God", we are to understand the truth that God has not abandoned His purpose for man. What Adam and Eve had failed to do in paradise, that Enoch did in this fallen world. That indicates that the blessing of paradise was being restored.
The explanation is this that after man had fallen into sin, God in Gen 3:15 spoke to Satan the tempter in the presence of man: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed..." God said: 'I am going to take from the seed, the offspring, of Eve a people that will be My people.'
That's what we read in Genesis 4 and 5. At the very end of 4:26 we read that after that darkness and sin: "to Seth there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the Name of the LORD." That is to say, in the midst of the darkness of sin God by His Spirit was calling a people to be His people. The names in Genesis 5 make up the early genealogy of the church. These are the people to whom Enoch belonged, who testify that God is redeeming and reconciling and sanctifying His people.
Thus we have the unfolding story of the Old Testament scriptures — God calling and redeeming men and women through to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to David. This is God's promise again and again in the OT:
I will set My tabernacle among you ... and I will walk among you ... and ye shall be My people.Lev 26:11, 12
It was that promise that Jesus Christ came to fulfill.
Why did Christ come into this world? In a word, He came to end our broken communion with God, to bring us into perfect communion with Him. Paul writes in 1 Thess 5:10: our Lord Jesus Christ "died for us, that, whether we wake (that is, live in this world) or sleep, we should live together with Him." That is God's purpose, that men and women shall be brought together as His people and be with Him forever.
The final word of Revelation is:
I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be their God.Rev 21:3
The words of Gen 5:24, "Enoch walked with God", witness to the truth that God's gracious purpose is sure. He will redeem a people. He will bring men to Himself.
That is still true today. If we are Christians, it can only be explained in terms of God's sovereign grace. Paul writes to the church at Ephesus: "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love" (1:4).
3. It was a Relationship marked by Fellowship with a Mighty God
Walking with God was the most important thing about Enoch's life. It was the source of his happiness. According to Scripture, that is the real happiness of every true Christian. Ps 89:15:
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, o LORD, in the light of Thy countenance.
That is also the perspective of the first question and answer in the Heidelberg Catechism: "What is your only comfort in life and death? That I with body and soul ... am not my own but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ..." In a way that is what Enoch knew. He walked with God. As he lived in this world, he knew that he needed most of all the help of God. His happiness was not dependent on circumstances.
The word for God here is the word Elohim. The original text has the definite article the before Elohim. "Enoch walked with the God", the God of might and strength (= the precise meaning of Elohim). From that we are to understand that it was walking with God that gave stability and strength to Enoch's life. He "walked with God" 300 years. Some of those years perhaps were years of blessing and of help, and many of them — perhaps — were years of difficulty and opposition. Enoch was a prophet. He was called to preach in a day when men did not want to hear the Word of God that he preached.
And yet during those years Enoch continued to walk with God. He did not give up. He did not sink under the weight of discouragements, because he walked with the God of all strength and help (Elohim). And that remains true to this hour. "They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength" (Isaiah 40:31). By walking with God there is strength imparted all-sufficient for the needs each day.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.Ps 91:1
God's purpose with us is that we might have fellowship with Him. But to have fellowship with God, we must be made like Him. As Enoch walked with God, he grew like the God with whom he walked. He was prepared for heaven. He was ripened for glory. We know that, because it is an invariable principle that we grow like our companions. The book of Proverbs says: He who walks with wise men, shall be wise. But the companion of fools shall be destroyed (13:20). In other words, if we spend our time with the wise, we will grow like them. If we spend our time with the foolish, we will become like them.
That is why Christian parents are concerned about what their children read and who their friends are. Young people often don't understand that. They think it's a lot of needless concern. But that concern is based upon this simple fact that we grow like our friends. If that is true among men, how much more true is it between us and God!
We read of the first Christians: "they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13). John writes in 1 John 1:7: "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another." That's what happens. We grow like our companions. If we walk with God, there is more of the likeness of God to be found in us.
Paul writes: "We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory unto glory" (2 Cor 3:18). Those words catch something of the spirit of the verse. As "Enoch walked with God", he was prepared for the day when God took him.
4. It was a Relationship that Culminated in Glory
Enoch was different in the way that he lived in this world and in the manner of his exit from this world: "he was not; for God took him". As Hebrews 11:5 says, he "was translated that he should not see death". It was given to Enoch not to die, as we may expect to die, but in body and spirit to be taken to be with God. That was a testimony in a unique sense.
Enoch lived in a day when people did not believe in eternity. They believed in brass and silver and gold and building cities and marrying and giving in marriage, and when the Word of God spoke to them of eternity and of the judgment to come, they scorned it and dismissed it. It was in the midst of that kind of world that "Enoch was translated that he should not see death".
When we read Genesis 5, we read the refrain that this man and that man lived so many years and they died. And in the midst of that kind of world God took one man as a witness to the fact that the departure of His people is a different kind of departure to a different kind of future. That is still true today. Christians do not live like other men, and they do not die like other men.
- The words "And Enoch walked with God" underline the truth that God is all-sufficient for those who know Him. God's grace and help are enough for them. It is all they need.
That is Christian experience. It is finding that God in Christ is all in all. If we have Christ, we lack nothing, and if we would have the whole world but be without the presence of God, we would be paupers.
Enoch's walking with God gave him a life of all-sufficient grace and help.
- Perhaps some whom we minister to in church have not yet begun to walk with God.
What's the reason for that?
The reason is simple. It is clear that it was "by faith Enoch" walked and "was translated" (Hebrews 11:5). He lived by a different principle. He didn't live looking at the things that were seen, that worldly men were looking at. Rather he looked and walked "by faith". In other words, he looked to God's promise. Like Moses, he saw "Him who is invisible" (Heb 11:27). By faith he was enabled so to live and to leave this life that he enjoyed the blessing of which we have been speaking. That is the Christian life.
By nature we walk by sight. By nature our eyes are filled with the things we see. And then ... if it happens to us that God in His grace begins to open our hearts, then we hear His Word coming to us, and in faith we begin to look to Christ. As we look and respond, we find we're beginning to live in a new world. We also can walk with God. We also can look to things which are unseen and invisible.
That is God's Word to us and to those whom we minister. The Lord Jesus Christ says: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with Me" (Rev 3:20). That is to say, as Jesus speaks and faith begins to act upon His promise, we come and coming we know Him, and knowing Him we begin to live with Him and for Him.