HOLINESS BEFORE THE
FLOOD; OR, DO YOU WALK WITH GOD?
'And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five
years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him
(Gen. 23, 24).
A remarkable biography! Nowadays men write hundreds of pages
about their heroes, and do not say as much as that. But there is a
good reason. There is not so much as that to say.
Enoch was a mighty man, with a wonderful life, lived under very
unfavorable circumstances, and I have profited much by meditating
upon his life, and what I think must have been his secret.
We are prone to look upon past ages and distant places as peculiarly
favorable to godliness. I remember that years ago I thought if I
could go to London and listen to Chas. Spurgeon each week, I could
be a Christian. In my boyhood I wished that I had lived in the days
of Jesus, and heard His wondrous words, and questioned Him about the
mysteries of godliness, for then I could certainly have been His
true follower. Usually the further back we go, the more godly seems
the age, and the more blessed seem the men.
But really this is not so, and especially is it not so of Enoch's
age and place. The age was most ungodly, and men had very little
religious light. The world was fast hastening to that dreadfulness
of sin and unbelief which would cause God to sweep away its people
by the deluge and leave but eight persons in it. They had no Bible.
They had no law. Men had not yet had a Divine revelation from
Heaven, telling them they must worship God, must keep the Sabbath
day, must honor their parents, must not kill, commit adultery,
steal, lie, or covet. Try to imagine an age and place with no such
teaching as that! Every man a law unto himself, his evil passions
and lusts and tempers having no restraint put upon them, and he
plunging continually deeper and deeper into sin and corruption.
Then they had no Gospel, with Jesus revealed as a loving Savior;
they had only one promise of hope and mercy, and that rather vague
-- the one given to the woman after that awful fall in Eden, the
promise of the Seed that sometime would come to bruise the Serpent's
head. It was a black night, with only one lone dim star shining in
the darkness. But Enoch held on to that promise, and in its light
and hope he walked with God for three hundred years.
We have a whole Bible, a finished revelation. We have the holy,
just, good law of God, showing us what we ought to do and what we
ought not to do. We have the Gospel, with its full noonday light,
showing us how to keep the law, how to get life and power to fulfill
the will of God on earth as the angels do it in Heaven. We have
Jesus, crucified before our eyes for our sins, dead, buried and
raised to glorious life again for our justification, and ascended on
high to the right hand of God, far above all created things and all
opposing powers of evil, to intercede for us, to pour out the Holy
Ghost upon us in rich measure, to live in us through the Spirit. We
have commandments, precepts and thousands of promises. Instead of a
midnight, with one lone, dim star shining fitfully in the darkness,
we have a midday, with all the splendor of the sun in his strength,
together with ten thousand reflected lights, shining upon us; and
yet we, in our trembling, pitiful, shameful unbelief, wonder however
Enoch could walk with God!
I. I imagine that Enoch made up his mind that it was possible to
walk with God; that is, to be agreed with God, to be of the same
mind and heart and purpose as God. Of course, there were stupendous
difficulties in the way. There were no churches or Salvation Army or
Sunday-schools; there were no holiness conventions; no days with God
and nights of prayer; no Bible, no War Cry, no religious papers and
libraries. In fact, instead of these helps to walk with God, he
found the whole community against him -- yea, the whole world, for
in Jude we read that Enoch had to prophesy against the ungodliness
he found around him.
Then, not only did Enoch have these extraordinary difficulties to
face, but he had all the ordinary difficulties as well. He got
married and had a large family of boys and girls to care for; he had
all the anxiety of a father to provide for his family and to protect
them from the influences all about them. Then, I cannot imagine that
he did not have the ordinary infirmities and the sinful nature of
other men. No doubt he might have said, as you and I have said, that
his temperament was peculiar, and that while others with a happier
temperament might be able to walk with God, yet, with his peculiarly
crooked and difficult make-up, it was quite out of the question for
him to hope to be holy and walk with God. Then, of course, he had
the devil to fight.
II. I think that Enoch not only believed in the possibility of
walking with God, but he made up his mind that he would walk with
God. He put his will into this matter.
III. Not only did Enoch believe in the possibility of walking with
God, and determine that as for him he would walk with God, but he
took such steps as were necessary to do so. He separated himself in
spirit from the ungodly people about him, and he raised his voice
against their evil ways, and became not only a negatively righteous
man, but a positively holy man.
Enoch had his reward. It paid him to walk with God. He loved God and
God loved him, and their affection became so intense that one day
God's love overcame the power of death, and drew Enoch from earth to
Now, I suppose that most people, in reading the story, think that
Enoch's reward consisted in getting to Heaven without dying. Well,
this was certainly a most unusual and blessed experience, and one I
suppose that men have wished for all through the ages. There is
something about death that is awful, and from which men shrink, and
yet, since Jesus has died and gone down into the grave and risen
again, the terror is lost, to the Christian. Still, it is probable
that if allowed to choose, most Christians and all sinners would
say, 'Let us go to Heaven like Enoch did.' But I cannot consider
this Enoch's chief reward.
For three hundred years God was his Friend, his Counselor, his
Comforter, his Constant Companion. Oh, what fellowship was that!
What an opportunity to gain wisdom, to build up and round out and
ennoble a man's Character! How easy to be good and do good! How life
must have almost burst with fullness of gladness! Walking with God!
Talking with God! Communing with God! Having mutual sympathy with
God entering into a union with God as intimate as the union of the
bay with the sea; and all this by faith, by simple trust, by
childlike confidence. This was Enoch's reward and it may be yours,
my brother, my sister, if you will meet the conditions as Enoch did.