When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah.22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years.24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. – Genesis 5:21-24
“I’ll make an exception. Just this once.” Have you ever said that? Did you stick to your “just this once” commitment? Or did once become two or three times? Or did it become the new rule? Parents sometimes find that their exceptions have become the rule for their toddler or teenage children. Curfews broken. Walls recolored. Tantrums surrendered to.
Enoch is an exception. And as far as we know, he’s only one of two in the Bible who did not taste death, but was taken directly to heaven. The other is Elijah, who was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot. I can’t imagine what that was like. Nor do I have any idea of what it was like for Enoch to simply not be: “And he was not.” Perhaps Enoch was walking with God in the sense of faithfulness and obedience, and God simply transformed/transported/transitioned him into the realm of eternity. Certainly it would be an amazing experience. But he has left no record for us to read.
Hebrews 11:5 tells us only a little more: “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” But what it tells us of vital importance. Enoch’s faith recommends him to God. In other words, just as faith without works is dead (James 5:14-26), so works without faith are of no value before God.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). It seems quite clear that there are no exceptions to that fact. Faith is essential – whether it is the kind that is rewarded with a direct trip to heaven as with Enoch and Elijah, or a welcome into the realm of glory when we die, or when Jesus returns and receives us as his own.
It’s faith, moreover, that helps us walk with God, especially as opposed to walking away from God. By faith we will stick by God’s side. We’ll trust him in the storm. We’ll rely on him in the dark hours. We’ll look to him in the face of temptation. We’ll honor him when everyone else is ignoring his goodness, faithfulness, mercy, and righteousness. We’ll thank, praise, serve, and obey him for creating us and all that exists. And we’ll rejoice in his eternal love shown in his Son, Jesus whose death brings us life and whose resurrection sustains our hope.
We’ll also find his no-exception policy toward faith to be a great comfort when we fall and trust once again in his promises and approach him in faith. No exceptions.
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