To Be Like Enoch…

My Dad loved to talk about Enoch. If you recall, Enoch was one of two men mentioned in the Bible who went to heaven without dying. This intrigued my Dad.

Genesis 5:24 says “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”

My Dad pursued God. Every morning and evening he would sit and read his Bible, pen in hand, leaning forward, eager to learn. He finished every day kneeling in prayer beside his bed.

He led us in family devotions every day. Often at the breakfast table, sometimes after supper. We would read verse by verse taking turns. Then we would pray together.

My Dad longed to be closer to his God. Time and time again he would talk about walking close enough to God so that he would be translated like Enoch. We just shook our heads and said…”Not likely to happen.” Still he pursued his God.

Hebrews 11:5-6 gives us a little more information about Enoch. We learn he was pleasing to God. That he had faith. His faith included believing God existed and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. (KJV)

The Phillips translation puts it this way.

“… he pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him. The man who approaches God must have faith in two things, first that God exists and secondly that it is worth a man’s while to try to find God.”

Enoch thought it was worth his while to find God. Enoch sought God. Enoch walked with God.  God cut his earthly life short to bring him home.

When I was almost 30 my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. A brain tumor was growing quickly despite the doctor’s best efforts to treat it. He lost his ability to write. His violin had to be set aside. He quit chopping wood. He could no longer drive. Every day something new was gone. Finally, he couldn’t walk and even his voice was taken away.

I prayed for healing. This God who my Dad had taught me about would certainly heal him. But God’s ways are not my ways and in less than a year my Dad was gone. Gone home to heaven. And I was devastated.

Why would God cut his life short? Didn’t God know we needed him?  Hadn’t he pursued God? Didn’t he deserve a good long life? I mourned…but I also knew that my dad was home with his God. He walked close enough to God to walk into eternity.

Looking back now, 30 years later, I see a man who pleased God. A man who pursued God. A man who walked with God.  A man who went to heaven earlier than expected. A man like Enoch.

For further study: Job 21:14; Psalm 73:28; Proverbs 8:17



Choices for the New Year

We all make choices. Hebrews 11:4 reminds us of the first family and the very different choices the brothers made. The more complete story is found in Genesis 4:1-16.

At first glance they look similar. They both were hard workers. They both brought sacrifices to God. But God payed heed to one and not the other.

Both brothers had heard the first-hand account of living in the garden, the terrible choice their parents made and the consequences. They also must have been told of the need for a blood sacrifice, which was a picture of a Messiah (Redeemer) who would come. (Hebrews 9:22)

Abel realized his great need and brought the sacrifice God required. It was a picture of the coming Messiah. God paid heed.

Cain thought he could win God’s favor by bringing things he had carefully grown and tended. It was a “look at me” moment. “Look at what I’ve done.” …and when God paid no heed he became angry.

God tries to reason with Cain. He pointed out his sin and encourages him to master it. (repentance) God held out hope to Cain. Cain would have none of it. He goes from being very angry to bringing his brother out in the field with him where he kills him. His actions spoke louder than his sacrifice.

Titus 1:16 gives a perfect explanation. “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed.”

Once more God approaches Cain. “Where is your brother Abel?” It was another opportunity to repent. Instead he deflects and lies. “I do not know, am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9)

God confronts Cain with the truth. He knows what he has done. Cain will be cursed. He will no longer have the ability to produce from the ground. The very thing he was so proud of is taken away. He will become a wanderer.

Cain responds by complaining, not repenting. He was sorry for his situation or punishment, but not his sin. Still, God grants him protection for his earthly life by putting a mark of protection on him. Sadly, Cain was not concerned about his eternal soul, and he “went out from the presence of the Lord.”

Abel lived and died for his faith. He was killed because he was favored by God.

Which brother are we like?

Cain, who proudly thought he was good enough to approach God on his own merits, or Abel who realized his great need and humbly brought the sacrifice that God required.

“For it is by grace that you are saved, through faith. This does not depend on anything you have achieved, it is the free gift of God; and because it is not earned no man can boast about it. “ (Ephesians 2:8-9 Phillips)

For further study: Genesis 4:1-16; Proverbs 21:27; I John 3:12; Hebrews 12:24