“Enoch the Walker”

Genesis 5:21-24: “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”

Enoch. Perhaps you know him as one of the only two Bible characters to “cheat death (the other being Elijah).” Perhaps you know him in relation to his son Methuselah, who bears another one of those “Oh, he’s in the Bible” names. Or perhaps you’ve heard of the extra-canonical source, the Book of Enoch. If you’ve been in church for a while, Enoch is one of those names I’m sure you’ve at least heard of before – but the reality is we don’t have that much information about this man in the Bible. The only other places he is mentioned are in the book of Hebrews as a man of great faith and in Jude as one of the ancient prophets. He’s a character that can easily be glossed over aside from his supernatural end-of-life experience, but today I want to zoom in on what we know about his life before, as our text says, “God took him.” Listen again to part of the blurb we are given in Genesis 5 about this man: “Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah […] Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”  

What does it mean to walk with someone? As an outdoorsman, one of my favorite things to do with someone is to spend some time walking (or biking or climbing) in the woods together. In the process of walking with someone, a certain bond is formed that’s unlike anything else. There’s a level of trust and comfort implied between two people just by being on a literal shared path. There’s a common end and purpose to the task at hand. Even some the most difficult hikes can seem more manageable with someone else. As I’ve spent some time meditating on this concept, the Holy Spirit led me to look back through some old photos of walks I’ve had through the woods, and I thought I’d share some of them with you today:

(The peak of my favorite hike with my wife Muriel in Sylva, NC)
(Hiking with some FBC young adults)
(Standing on a mountain with my dad and two brothers)
(Hiking through a boulder field with my climbing partner)
(Guiding a group of college students through Pinnacle Park)
(Hiking in the smokies with Muriel and our friend Ben)

Each of these photos is representative of a journey I and the people in the photos embarked upon together – but they were more than the physical act of walking. One of the reasons walking with someone is so cool is that you don’t do it in silence. Can you imagine if I had gone on each of these walks and not said anything to the people I was with? That just wouldn’t work. Part of walking is the conversations you have along the way. In the examples above, I can remember learning about people’s pasts; their hopes and dreams for the future; their struggles; their victories; and I remember sharing those same things about myself. In each example, the journey resulted in deeper relationships, and conversations happened that would have been difficult to have in another context (even in one where the “goal,” so to speak, was deepening the relationship through conversation).

So what does it mean to “walk with God?” Well, I think the same principles apply. Perhaps we are too quick to relegate this statement to something figurative. We refer to our “walk with Christ” or our “journey,” but what we really mean is our prayer life, or the practice spiritual disciplines, or our church attendance. Maybe part of walking with God is actually doing something with him – walking, running, biking – just like we would do something with someone else, because it is in these contexts that certain conversations more naturally take place. God certainly seemed to like that Enoch walked with Him. Maybe he was onto something. I’ve noticed that often, when I try to sit down and have a deep conversation with someone it doesn’t happen – but when I walk with someone, doors open in ways they didn’t before. Maybe you’re due for a nice, long walk with Jesus. Maybe there are things he wants you to tell him on that journey, and maybe there are things he wants to tell you. My prayer is that you will step out in faith – literally – and let God meet you in that moment. You might be surprised by what a walk can teach you.

By: John Kimbrough, Minister of Modern Worship

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