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Bible Commentaries

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

Genesis 5

 

 

Verse 24

DISCOURSE: 11

ENOCH’S WALKING WITH GOD

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

THE cares of a family are by no means incompatible with a life of devotedness to God. The man distinguished for his piety above all others in the antediluvian world, had a very numerous offspring [Note: His eldest son, Methuselah, was born to him at the age of sixty-five; after which he continued for the space of three hundred years to beget sons and daughters. 1–23.], to whom doubtless he paid every attention in his power: yet he was not impeded in his spiritual course; but found time to serve his God, as much as if he had been free from all concern about this present world.

We shall consider,

I. His conduct—

We are told, he “walked with God.” Now “walking with God” implies,

1. Agreement—

[Enoch, as a fallen creature, was once alienated from God, like others [Note: Ephesians 4:18.], and, during his unconverted state, was full of enmity against him both in heart and life [Note: Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21.] ; “walking after the flesh,” according to the course of this world, and altogether contrary to God [Note: Romans 8:1; Ephesians 2:2; Leviticus 26:27-28.]. But now he was reconciled to God through faith in Christ [Note: It is said in Hebrews 11:5 that Enoch was “translated by faith:” and though that faith might have more immediate respect to some promise given him relative to his translation, yet we can scarcely conceive but that it had a further respect to the promised Messiah. And this idea is greatly strengthened by the account St. Jude gives of his foretelling the very manner of the future judgment (4, 15.): for if he prophesied of Christ’s second coming, doubtless he was not ignorant of his first advent.] — — — And was brought by this means to an agreement with him both in mind and will. Thus must all of us obtain reconciliation with God through the blood of Christ, before we can resemble this eminent saint; for it is not possible for “two to walk together except they be agreed [Note: Amos 3:3.].”]

2. Familiarity—

[Friends who associate much together, contract a familiarity with each other: they open to each other their sorrows and their joys: they consult each other in their difficulties; and maintain with the greatest freedom a mutual intercourse. Thus did Enoch with his God. He considered God as his friend: he had familiar access to him at all times: he opened to him all his wants, all his fears, all his trials: he did nothing without first asking counsel of his friend, and engaging his assistance.

Nor was this an honour peculiar to him: it is the duty and the privilege of all the saints: we may go and knock at the door of our Friend, and he will always open unto us [Note: Matthew 7:7-8.]: we may have access to him with boldness and with confidence, even in his most private apartments [Note: James 4:8; Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 10:19]: we may ask what we will of him, and he will do it for us [Note: John 15:7.]. He, on the other hand, will come and knock at our door; and will come in and sup with us [Note: Revelation 3:20; John 14:23.]: he will communicate to us his secrets [Note: Psalms 25:14.] ; and will in ten thousand ways manifest himself unto us as he does not unto the world [Note: John 14:21-22.].]

3. Affection—

[Affection is the very essence of friendship: mere agreement or familiarity are of little value without it: where this does not exist, the intercourse cannot be such as is implied in walking with God. Enoch loved his God, if I may so speak, with all his heart, and mind, and soul, and strength: God would never have given him a special testimony of his approbation, if his heart had been destitute of the sacred flame of love. He went forth to meet his God, as Adam was wont to do in his state of innocence: he looked forward with joy to the seasons when he should again renew his fellowship with him: he studied to avoid every thing that might in any respect grieve him; and made it the great object of his life to do what was pleasing in his sight.

It is in this way that we also are to walk with God: we Hebrews 10:19. must commune with him not by constraint, but willingly and of a ready mind [Note: 1 John 1:3.]. We must delight ourselves in him [Note: Psalms 37:4.]. His loving-kindness must be better to us than life itself [Note: Psalms 63:3.]: and it must be as marrow and fatness to us to serve and honour him. [Note: Psalms 63:5.] ]

How acceptable to God this conduct was, we may learn from,

II. The reward with which God honoured him—

The manifestations of God’s presence and favour which he continually enjoyed, were a rich recompence for any self-denial which he exercised, or any exertions which he used, to please his God. But, besides all these, God,

1. Exempted him from death, the common lot of all men—

[All, the righteous as well as the wicked, must pay the penalty of death, which has been entailed on them by the sin of Adam, and been richly merited by their own personal transgressions. But God has been pleased to exempt from it one in the old world, and one in the new [Note: Compare 2 Kings 2:11 with the text.]. This testimony of his approbation God vouchsafed to Enoch. He was a bold and faithful witness for God, and doubtless incensed many against him [Note: Judges 14, 15.] — — — And God took him from a persecuting and ungodly world, who probably enough were seeking to destroy him on account of his pungent admonitions [Note: In Hebrews 11:5 before cited, it is said “he was not found.” This may refer to some search made by his friends (see 2 Kings 2:16.) or rather by his enemies, (see 1 Kings 18:10.)]. He took him in the prime of life, without any previous pain or sickness. To some indeed it might appear a calamity to be taken away, in the midst of his useful labours, and while his family were still looking up to him for instruction and support: but he thought it “far better to depart and to be with Christ,” than to prolong his days in the midst of a tempting and ungodly world: and God gave him the desire of his heart.

We, however diligent in walking with God, cannot hope to participate in such a reward as this. But death shall be disarmed of its sting, so that it shall be to us rather an object of desire, than of fear and terror [Note: 2 Corinthians 5:4.]: and while the most stout-hearted sinner in the universe trembles at its approach, we shall be enabled not only to meet it with serenity and composure, but to triumph over it as a vanquished enemy. [Note: 1 Corinthians 15:55.] ]

2. Exalted him both in body and in soul to a more immediate enjoyment of his presence—

[While Enoch was in the body, he could not endure the full splendour of the divine glory [Note: 1 Timothy 6:16.]: he could only behold his God through the dark medium of faith [Note: 1 Corinthians 13:12.], or, at most, be permitted to “see his back parts [Note: Exodus 33:23.].” But God translated him, both in body and soul, to the highest heavens; making him thereby not only an eminent type of Christ’s ascension, but an earnest and pledge to us, that our bodies shall hereafter be raised to a participation of the happiness, which our glorified souls shall enjoy at the instant of their departure from the body. To what extent the blessedness of every individual will be advanced by the re-union of the soul and body, it is not possible to say: but it is reasonable to suppose, that that which consummates our reward, will greatly enhance our felicity. This, however, Enoch had not to wait for; he received his full reward at once; and was thereby distinguished from all those disembodied spirits, which, though perfected in glory, waited for their complete happiness till the day of judgment. The happiness of Enoch in communing with God on earth was doubtless exceeding great: but when he arrived at the full fruition of the divine glory, his blessedness as far exceeded all that he had before experienced, as the early dawn is surpassed by the meridian light.

It need not, however, be any matter of regret to us, that we are not to expect this reward; since, on our dismission from the body, we shall instantly be in Paradise; and at the day of resurrection, we shall have our bodies raised to a participation of our bliss.]

3. Made him a most distinguished monument to the whole world, of the love he bears to those who seek communion with him—

[We know but little of the state of those who are gone into the invisible world, though we believe, from the word of God, that they are completely happy. But here is an evidence to our very senses, that none shall be suffered to “seek God’s face in vain.” Who, after beholding such an interposition of the Deity, such an honour conferred on a “man of like passions with ourselves,” can doubt one moment of the acceptance which all shall find, who serve their God in sincerity and truth [Note: Isaiah 64:5.] ?

In this view then we may consider his reward as an earnest of ours. We shall not be left without many expressions of God’s love even in this world, if we endeavour to walk closely with him. But, whether our present state be more or less joyous, we are sure that in the eternal world we shall not lose our reward. We need only to consider the exalted condition of this distinguished saint and we may see in him the blessedness reserved for us.]

Infer,

1. What an honourable character is the Christian!

[We consider those as honourable who associate with great men on earth: but the Christian has higher company than earthly monarchs; he walks with God himself; and God is not ashamed to call him his friend [Note: Hebrews 11:16; James 2:23; John 15:15.]. In some sense, the Christian is already translated into God’s kingdom [Note: Colossians 1:13.], and admitted into the heavenly Zion, and joined to the society of glorified saints and angels [Note: Hebrews 12:22-23.].

Let every one then walk worthy of this high calling; and, in a dignified contempt of all inferior objects, endeavour to attain this sublime privilege in its highest perfection.]

2. What a happy character is the Christian!

[His singularity may bring upon him much odium and persecution. But what need he to regard the frowns of men, who enjoys fellowship with God? One smile from his almighty Friend is sufficient to counterbalance all the indignities that can possibly be cast upon him. Yet, after all, his happiness in this world is but as the drop before the shower. When he has filled up the measure of his obedience, God takes him to himself; a band of angels are sent to bear his spirit to the regions of the blest. It must not be said of the Christian, “He dies;” but merely, that “God translates him” from a world of sin and misery, to a world of blessedness and glory. “Such honour have all his saints; “God grant it may be ours for ever and ever! Amen.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Genesis 5:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/genesis-5.html. 1832.

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