There are only a few lives in every generation that the world is not worthy of. Enoch was one such life. His son Methuselah was the oldest man who ever lived, his father Jared was the second oldest. But with Enoch, it was not quantity that mattered, it was quality. In a day when men were living close to one thousand years, Enoch died at the “young” age of 365. That number is significant. One year has that many days. Enoch made each day and every year of his “short” life count for God.
Not much is said about Enoch in scripture, but what is said is remarkable: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. (Genesis 5:24) While God’s spirit was striving with man, giving him more time to get with it, letting him live on until perhaps he would wake up, Enoch had gotten his act into gear early and had kept it going. So much so that God said, “There is nothing left to prove to Me. I know you love Me. It is enough – come home now.” Like Job after him, here was a life on earth that had gained heaven’s notice. This is the case in every generation, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
What though caused Enoch to be the stand out of his generation? Enoch’s name holds a clue. In Hebrew, Enoch means, dedicated. What an appropriate name. It is used to speak of Solomon’s temple which was dedicated to the Lord with great fanfare. “And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD.” (1 Kings 8:63) Despite this great beginning, it would not be long however until that same temple and Solomon himself would no longer be dedicated to the Lord.
Enoch was different though. His dedication is outstanding because it continued to the very end. His commitment did not burn brightly and then flame out. Until he was “not,” his testimony was, “He walked with God.” Yes, it is beautiful to watch a young couple walk down the aisle together after pledging themselves to each other at the altar, but it is far more wonderful to see them withstand the many occassions to part and remain dedicated to each other until the end. True dedication must always be proven, standing the tests of time and trial.
Those that live for God’s pleasure in each generation are rare. In this generation they are rarer still.
Jesus had some early zealous followers who walked with him for a season, but then a time of offense came: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66) The early stages of every commitment has an excitement and enthusiasm that can carry us along for a time. But whether it is in a marriage, or in our commitment to God, there will always be occassions to depart, tough places where we don’t like or can’t understanding what’s going on. We can develop a habit of walking away from someone or something we were once very dedicated to unless we will be like Enoch. His testimony in the Book of Hebrews reveals the key to his enduring dedication, “…For before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5) Three simple, but profound words: “he pleased God.”
Those that live for God’s pleasure in each generation are rare. In this generation they are rarer still. Paul predicted: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4) More than ever, people in this day are dedicated to their own pleasure or happiness. Just listen to the reason many people give for leaving a marriage? “I’m not happy anymore.” Not only marriages, but jobs, churches, etc. are left for the same reason, “I’m no longer happy here.” Do those who worship at the altar of their own happiness consider the pain they cause others when they “divorce” themselves from others? Hardly, they are too busy getting away from their own lack of happiness to count the real cost of their actions in the lives of those around them.
Our commitments to anyone or anything cannot disappear simply because we’re not happy. Those who operate under this principle, will always be people of short-lived dedication, “throwing in the towel” and moving on to another place or person when the “thrill is gone.” There, in a new honeymoon period, they can once again experience all the excitement and enthusiasm of a new beginning. But how long will it take in the new place or with the new person before “reality” sets in and unhappiness once again takes hold?
Enoch stayed with the Lord and endured because he was not living for his own happiness, he was living for the happiness of God. “He pleased God.”
If Enoch’s testimony was, “he pleased himself,” or “he lived for his happiness,” he never would have remained dedicated to the Lord till the very end. Living 365 years in an ungodly age certainly must have had some rough moments. Could he have grumbled and complained, even becoming angry with his God? “Why Lord? Why have you allowed these things to happen? Why aren’t things better? Where’s the answers to my prayers? I’m not happy with the life I have! I don’t like the situation I’m in! I thought I was your servant. Is this how you treat your servants? If this is how you’re going to treat me, why should I walk with you?” But Enoch stayed with the Lord and endured because he was not living for his own happiness, he was living for the happiness of God. “He pleased God.”
Ultimately though, only the Enochs will have a lasting impact in their day and on their families. Quality counts.
It is one thing to be dedicated, another to stay dedicated; one thing to make a vow, another to keep it. How many give themselves, their hearts, their cares, to the Lord in a moment of deep sincerity, with all kinds of joyful enthusiasm, only to take back what they have given somewhere down the road. The enduring dedication of an Enoch is hard to find: “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6) Ultimately though, only the Enochs will have a lasting impact in their day and on their families. Quality counts. John Wesley said, “Give me one hundred men who love only God with all their heart and hate only sin with all their heart, and we will shake the gates of hell and bring in the kingdom of God in one generation.”
Are there a hundred New Testament saints on the earth today who are of the caliber of the Old Testament saint, Enoch? These will endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. They will seek to please Him who has called them to be a soldier. They will not be soft, complaining or self-pleasing. They will weather the storms in their life, with their hand firmly in God’s, not allowing their emotions to get the better of them. They will let patience have her perfect work and grow through imperfect circumstances. Because their happiness is found in pleasing their God, they will always say, “Whatever pleases you, Lord.” Because they walk unto all pleasing, they will walk worthy of their Lord. And in the end, they will have their “translation” to a better, happier place, where the Lord they lived to make happy will smile on them forever.