Thursday, April 20, 2017

HEBREWS 11:5-6

Here's another from the Forget Me Not List...

"By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death;
and he was not found because God took him up,
for he obtained the witness
that before being taken up
he was pleasing to God.
And without faith it was impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God
must believe that He is
and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

Who's there?
Enoch who?
Enoch who skipped death.

I've never met anyone named Enoch, have you?  I've met someone named Abel, but not too many named Cain.  But there is something more curious than this about these verses.  If we go back to the genealogy in Genesis 5, it is astounding.  I've seen charts that show how generations overlapped so much by their incredibly long lives that the characters like Noah and Abraham were very likely have been closely influenced by their forefathers.

Adam lived 930 years (He became the father of Seth at age 139), and he died.
Seth lived 912 years...and he died.
Enosh lived 805 year, and he died.
Kenan lived 840 years, and he died.
Mahalalel lived 895 years, and he died.
Jared lived 960 years, and he died.
Jared lived 962 years, and he died.
Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah.
Then Enoch walked with God three hundreds years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were 365 years.
Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

According to some researchers, this meant that Methuselah died the year of the flood, Adam was still alive when Methuselah was born, and Noah's son Shem was still alive when Abram was alive.

Enoch was not in the cemetery!  He was snatched by God!  God took him!  Even Methuselah lived 969 years, and he died, but not his daddy.  Enoch did not pass "Go!"  He did not collect $200.  His playing piece was just gone, gone, gone.  Did they send out a search party?  Did they scratch their heads and wonder if they should have a funeral even though there was no body?  Did they put his picture on milk cartons or on fb with a MISSING notice? 

What did his wife think?  His children?   

Then Methuselah had a son named Lamech who had a son Noah.  Yeah, have you heard of him?  Lamech said of Noah, "This one will give us rest from our work and the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed."  Hmm.  But the crazy thing was, when the flood came, everyone died except Noah and his family on the ark.  It doesn't mention that Methuselah his granddaddy was on the ark, so he died the year of the flood, hopefully not by drowning.

Earlier in Genesis 4:25-36, it was said, "Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, 'God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.'  To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh.  Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord." 

Boy, howdy, oh to live in the days when "men began to call upon the name of the Lord."  What was that like?  "So, God, where do You want to go today?  Who do You want me to see today?  Who do You want to talk with today?  What do You want me to say today?  Who do You want me to touch and bless today?  What do You want to teach me today?" 

Yet, those days when "men began to call upon the name of the Lord" were quickly followed a few  generations later by "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart." (Genesis 6:5-6)

Maybe God spared Enoch from seeing those evil days that were coming.  Perhaps God knew since Enoch was used to calling on the Lord, that he would grieve like God grieved at the wickedness of mankind, all except his grandson Noah.  But here in Hebrews, Enoch is given as an example of faith, a faith that God would reward.  Enoch "received the witness that before he was taken up he was pleasing to God."

Here we are told, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must
believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who (diligently) seek Him." (verse 6)  Do you have that kind of faith?    

Enoch was talking with God one minute, and then he just slipped behind the curtain and disappeared.  Death is so close to all of us, one breath away.  But when God took Enoch, he was saying, "Today you will be with me in Paradise," without the aging of the years like those ahead of you or behind you experienced.  He skipped death, the curse of the Garden, a consequence of
when Adam and Eve sinned. 

Are you jumping up and down with your hand up in the air saying, "Me too!  Me too!  I want to skip death and go straight to heaven!"  I think I'll just settle for now having the witness that I am pleasing to God, a well-done-good-and-faithful-servant kind of pleasing Him.

For those of us who don't get to skip death, like Enoch and Elijah (II Kings 2:17), Jesus has mercifully conquered death and has offered us a resurrection also, a promise that we won't be stuck in the grave, but will come forth into eternal life.

From our perspective on this side of Calvary, it is as Adam Clarke says, "He must believe, also, that He rewards them that diligently seek Him; that He is not indifferent about His own worship; that He requires adoration and religious service from men; and that He blesses, and especially protects and saves, those who in simplicity and uprightness of heart seek and serve Him.  This requires...a faith by which we can please in God through Christ the great sin-offering, without which a man can no more please Him, or be accepted of Him, than Cain was." 

Andrew Murray says, "Desire is the root of faith; without a hunger for God, His existence is a matter of indifference; the knowledge of His being does not affect the soul.  Faith seeks for God; it believes that He is; it keeps the heart open towards Him...Faith believes that God can  be found; that He can and will make Himself known; that He cares for everyone who truly longs for Him."
He goes on to say of "well-pleasing...God created us for Himself: it is our destiny, we were made with the one object of pleasing Him, and being His delight."  Are you well-pleasing to God, His delight?

"...that he pleased Him."
Be like Enoch. Be well-pleasing.  Get the witness!

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