I love hearing the testimonies of older folks who are Christians. Not only because of the many stories they tell of God’s unfailing grace and faithfulness throughout the years, but I especially love to hear them talk about their “walk with the Lord.” There is often something very intimate, very personal, even reverential about the narrative. It was as if they were talking about a deep friendship with a close friend. One they had proven to be reliable through “thick and thin,” one who was there when no one else was, who saw them at their worst and loved them through it nevertheless; a confidant who had seen them through the tears and the disappointments. Someone they had learned to trust. I am usually in awe of the intimacy in the stories.
These thoughts came to mind as I reflected on the first five words of Genesis 5:24, “And Enoch walked with God” (KJV). The Amplified Bible puts it this way, “And [in reverent fear and obedience] Enoch walked with God.” In Genesis 17:1 God said to the 99-year-old Abram, “Walk before me, and be thou perfect.” But what does that even mean? Hymnist Paul Brandt in the well-known hymn “I Come to the Garden Alone” writes: “And He walks with me and He talks with me / And He tells me I am His own / And the joy we share as we tarry there / None other has ever known.” Was that what it was like to walk with God?
In its commentary on Genesis 5:24, the Sermon Bible states: “These words seem to imply that Enoch possessed a remarkable resemblance to God in moral excellence; that he realized God’s presence, and enjoyed His communion in an extraordinary measure, and that he publicly avowed himself to be on God’s side, and stood almost alone in doing so.” On God’s instructions to Abram, Bible scholar Adam Clark writes, “Set thyself to walk – be firmly purposed, thoroughly determined to obey, before me; for my eye is ever on thee, therefore ever consider that God seeth thee. Who can imagine a stronger incitement to conscientious, persevering obedience?.. . To be perfect as our Father who is in heaven is perfect, to be filled with the fullness of God, to have Christ dwelling continually in the heart by faith, and to be rooted and grounded in love.”
As I continued to reflect, it occurred to me that walking with God was not just another casual experience. Matthew Henry in his concise commentary puts it this way: “To walk with God is to set God always before us, to act as always under His eye. It is constantly to care, in all things to please God, and in nothing to offend Him. It is to be followers of Him as dear children.” If we hope to realize God’s presence and enjoy “His communion in an extraordinary measure” in our daily lives, our goals and values must be aligned with His. You and I must be thoroughly determined to obey. We take the walk with Him with a commitment to follow His rules even if it means standing alone. Wouldn’t it be great to live our lives in such a way that one line on our tombstones contained the words, “He/She walked with God”?