March 7, 2017 – Tuesday
Read: Hebrews 11:5 – 6, NIV
Focus: v. 6, NIV
“For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
This whole chapter in Hebrews is sometimes referred to as the “Hall of Faith.” The NIV translators and publisher chose the title – “Faith in Action.” Both are good headings. The list of names in this chapter reads like a “Who’s Who” of biblical history. Our passage for today was chosen for the particular reason that it focuses on an aspect of faith we often fail to take into account. The “short story” (very short) presented is of a man called Enoch. There is not much written about him in the Old Testament. In fact, his whole story is found in Genesis 5:18 – 24. This is more than some have had written about them, even though it is short. Some are barely a name in a list of “begats.” However, there is one salient fact presented about Enoch which became important to the writer of the book called Hebrews. “Enoch walked with God then he was no more, because God took him away” (Gen. 5:24). All the others listed have after their name, “he died.”
What was special about Enoch – he “walked with God” – means that he chose his path to be the path God had for him. He was walking so closely with God and it was so real that at one point, as someone put it, God said to him, “We are closer to my home than yours so come with me.” He never saw death as all of mankind (with only two exceptions that we know of) has experienced. “Walking” is a euphemism for “living” which indicated that the life Enoch was living was pleasing to God. The writer of Hebrews makes this clear as well when he records the words, “For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God” Heb. 11:5b, NIV). This is further confirmed in our focus verse in the words, “without faith it is impossible to please God,” carrying the import that faith is of utmost importance in our relationship with God.
How is your faith today? Is it strong? Are you secure in your faith? Are you pleasing God today in all you do? Apparently only Enoch and Elijah were chosen by God to not experience death. Now, I’m pretty sure they were not perfect in all things but apparently close enough that God chose to just take them to be with him. Moses wasn’t chosen. Neither was Abraham or any of the other patriarchs of faith. Just Enoch and Elijah were chosen. Pleasing God is associated with faith in the Bible and it is apparent that this can only be done through the exercise of faith with regard to this special relationship we can have with our heavenly Father. Faith is a trust thing. How do you really trust God? Hmm! Think on that!