Lessons from Enoch

There is a rather mysterious figure who shows up in our Scriptures named Enoch. He is only mentioned a couple of times in and it is usually in genealogies. There is almost zero information about Enoch beyond who his parents are and who his children are. So, if this is true, then what could we possibly learn from Enoch?  Why is he even worth mentioning? 

Taken up

The odds are that if you have heard of Enoch, then you know him as the only other person recorded in the Bible to not have died, but simply be taken up by God. Many know that the prophet Elijah was taken up by chariots of fire to be with God, but Enoch is the key character in the lesser known occasion where a person did not experience death as we traditionally think about it. Enoch’s entire life is summed up in one verse in the book of Genesis. “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:34).

And there you have it. Enoch’s claim to fame and entire life story in one short verse. The only other times his name is mentioned in Scripture is during genealogies — in long, almost rambling lists of one begat two, two begat three, three begat four and so on. Now that we know a little more about Enoch’s “story,” we circle back to our earlier question: what can we possibly learn from a man who we know almost nothing about?  

He Walked with God

There is at least one thing about Enoch’s life that we can be sure of: he loved and walked with God throughout his whole life. He had a relationship with God that he valued, a relationship that was meaningful and deep. The summary of Enoch’s life immediately brings to mind the words of the apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24).

It certainly seems to me that Enoch was a man who ran the race well and in such a way as to receive the prize Paul is talking about in his letter to the Corinthians. 

Ever since I first heard of Enoch and how he and Elijah were “taken up” by God before their death, I was fascinated. Obviously, there is a wealth of information about the prophet Elijah. However, I always admired Enoch even without knowing about his life — and here’s why: I strive to live my life is such a way that my life could be summarized as Enoch’s life was. I hope that someday people who have known me and seen the way I live may be able to say of me the same thing that the Scripture says about Enoch. I hope that the best one sentence to describe the way I lived my life is that I “walked with God.” There is something profound and powerful in the simplicity of this. Instead of a long list of accolades, miracles, amazing accomplishments, and incredible stories, it is the simplicity of Enoch’s life which stands out. 

Some part of me does want my life to have accolades, accomplishments, and miracles attached to it, but another part of me wants the simplicity of “he walked with God.” The list of great accomplishments and accolades are nice, but the more important piece is a personal relationship with my Savior. Mathew 7 tells us that there will be those who have done great things in the name of Jesus and they will have accolades and accomplishments, but God will turn them away from eternity with him because he never knew them. I am certainly not saying that we should not strive to do great things to advance the name of Jesus and the gospel, but we should be careful to keep our priorities in order. Clearly, knowing God and being know by him is the far more important thing. I want to know Jesus intimately and make that my first priority.

So pursue a relationship with Jesus first and let all else fall where it may. I hope and pray that we all live in such a way that our lives may also be summarized as Enoch’s life was. May it be said of us that we ran the race in such a way as to receive the prize and may it be said of us that we walked with God.