Genesis 5:1-8, 21-24
If you’ve read the book of Genesis before, you probably are familiar with the tragic story of Cain and Abel. Can you imagine what must've been going through the minds of our first parents when they discovered their own son’s body out in the field? That’s the first recorded death in the Bible, but chapter five lists several more. In fact, chapter four has traditionally been called the “sin” chapter, while chapter five has been called the “death” chapter. James says that “sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death,” and this is ALWAYS true. The sun is hot, snow is cold, night follows day, and sin leads to death.
I remember the first time I seriously read Genesis for my personal study, and I was seriously depressed by this chapter. When you think about all we lost in chapter three, then this chapter becomes even more disheartening. “So and so lived for so many years, he had these children, and then he died. Then this other guy lived for so many years, he had these children, and then he died.” We were designed to live forever! Death is a foreign invader, not something natural to us!
But near the end of the chapter, it’s as if God himself has had enough of this. If you believe, as I do, that every word in Scripture is God-breathed, then the short narrative about Enoch has very special meaning. After all this death, God intervenes in the life of Enoch, and there are two very important points to consider:
1) While all the others are simply described as “living” for so many years, Moses (the author of this book) says that Enoch “walked faithfully with God.” There's a huge difference between “living” (a plant’s "alive") and "walking with God."
I once heard a humorous retelling of this story. Every morning Enoch woke up, got dressed,, and walked with God during the day. Day after day, he walked with God. But one day, as Enoch and God were walking together, God said to Enoch, "You know, Enoch, my house is closer than yours right now. Why don't you just come on over to my place?"
2) The end of the narrative about Enoch reminds us of our “blessed hope” when all will be made right and new again. Death does NOT have the final word over us, God does. In fact, our Lord Jesus literally has the final word here. Hold on to that.
Lord Jesus, I thank you that I share in your victory over death and sin. Whether I go to you or you come to me, death doesn't have the last word over me. You do. Your victory is mine. Through your life-giving Spirit, help me to follow Enoch's example, walking with you moment-by-moment, not just going through the motions of "life."