And Enoch walked with God, and he was not for God took him.’ For much of my Christian life, I have found that simple Old Testament statement profoundly intriguing. What did it mean that Enoch walked with God to the extent that God found it irresistible to remove him from this earthly life into His immediate Presence? For that matter, what does ‘walking with God’ mean anyway and is it even possible in this world where everything is permanently switched to warp speed?
One thing is glaringly obvious from this little portion of scripture tucked away in Genesis 5:24: God wants us to walk with Him. In fact I would venture to say He’s passionate about the idea. The first man and woman freely walked with God at will until sin and shame interrupted. While most of our Bible translations tell us our Creator God came seeking man ‘in the cool of the day’ the word is actually ‘in the ‘ruwach’, i.e. ‘spirit, breath, wind, of the day’. The Spirit was present. Furthermore it was the ‘Voice’ of the Lord they heard seeking them out. Christ, the Word of God, was present. And it was from the plural Elohim, the three in one God, that the man and the woman hid themselves (Gen. 3:8). I find it overwhelmingly poignant that after their fall, it was God Himself who came seeking the man and the woman, not the other way around. And He has never stopped seeking the company of human beings willing to walk in perfect fellowship with Him.
The Bible tells us little about Enoch, but it does hint that Enoch’s walk with God was progressive, for Enoch walked with God for 300 years before he was somehow ‘beamed up’ by the Lord (Gen. 5:22; Heb. 11:5). Did Enoch’s walk with God reach a point where God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit so possessed him that he could no longer walk in this fallen world of earth?
Walking with God is to walk more and more in full restoration of that spiritual state for which humankind was created. Walking with God is far more than our initial salvation; it is the realm beyond salvation. When a child is born new life is present but that child cannot yet walk. A newly born child needs to be carried everywhere. However, that child was created to walk, run and leap. If in the course of time a child does not begin of its own will to walk, there will naturally be deep concern.
Even so, salvation, or being ‘born again’, is the gateway by which we all must enter the Kingdom, but we were created for so much more than the new birth. We were created to walk, run and leap with God. How foolish we would be to spend our lives sitting at the city gates, in sight of the inner courts of the King, but never moving beyond the entrance (Psalm 100:4; Matt. 7:14; Rev. 22:14). ‘Narrow is the gate’, said Jesus, ‘and difficult is the way (walk) that leads to life’. He made it clear there is a path, a road, beyond the gate which we are to traverse. He expects our initial salvation experience to be the entrance way into a new kind of life, a life increasingly drawn from His fellowship, the Father’s love and the Spirit’s companionship. It is not at the gates, but within the courts of the King, where we walk continually in the manifest Presence of God, that we will discover what it means to become one with Him.
But there’s a strange attractiveness to sitting at the gates. From the gates we can still look out over the passing world. From our presumably safe little niche in the wall we can still satisfy the lust of our eyes, taste the exotic flavours, and fill our nostrils with the stench of the world that once was our life. The courts of the King, with treasures far beyond anything we have seen or known, await our presence, but we are still transfixed on the temporal pleasures the old world holds out to us. Walking with God is our destiny, but if we are to achieve it, we must move beyond the narrow gate, turning our face resolutely towards the unfamiliar but beckoning pathway, without looking back.
Through Christ, and Christ alone, we CAN walk with God. Think of Peter stepping out of the boat to walk on the sea to Jesus. So often we focus in on the fear that caused Peter to sink, but the fact remains for a few glorious moments a man walked with God where men do not walk! Think of the two disciples on the Emmaus road, discouraged, fearful, believing all was lost. They are joined by a stranger they don’t recognize, whose words burn their hearts like fire and birth an inner boldness they’d never known. The One they walked with that day was the newly resurrected Christ …. God walking again with man, supernaturally imparting His endless life into hearts that were downcast and afraid. So much so they turned and made haste immediately back to Jerusalem, the very city they had fled in fear of their lives.
Walking with God is not impossible in this life, but it is costly. And the cost? Oh, it will cost you the world to walk with God! It will cost you separation from all the world loves and values. But let’s be clear: this separation to a walk with God is not withdrawing into some kind of pseudo religious monastic lifestyle, nor is it taking on an aloof and super spiritual attitude towards those around us. That kind of sham holiness is nothing more than Phariseeism. The separation the Spirit of God leads us into is worked within us. It is simply a choice to pursue Christ whatever the cost, and the cost will soon become apparent.
Learning to walk with God means there will be times when it seems no one else walks with you but God. It means there will be times the world will demand explanations from you that you can’t give. Despite His popularity among some, Jesus knew what it was to be hated by the world (John 15:18). When He was serious they hated Him because He would not join in their fun. When He was lighthearted they hated Him because He wasn’t downcast (see Matt. 11:16-19)
Walking with God means this world will become increasingly alien as you learn to think the thoughts of God, see through the eyes of God , love what He loves and hate what He hates. What the world values will become worthless to you and what you treasure will be worthless to the world. Our brother Paul put it this way:
But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Gal. 6:14
Can two walk together unless they are agreed?
Somehow, I think these are things Enoch, living only seven generations after Adam, must have discovered. His life speaks prophetically to us of a people, a separated Bride, learning to walk with God, ‘Even just a day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere!” is her heart cry. And at the appointed time, may it also be said of this elect Bridal company: ‘And she walked with God and she was not for God took her.” Even so, come Lord Jesus!
© Cheryl McGrath, Bread for the Bride, 2013
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