Enoch and Noah Walk With God
Key Verse: 6:8,9
“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.”
In the previous passage we saw how quickly sin spread after Adam and Eve’s disobedience. We also thought about the terrible consequences of sin. When Cain killed his brother Abel the first human family was torn apart. Cain was driven from the land and cursed to be a restless wanderer on the face of the earth. His descendants built the first cities and civilizations, but they built them without God. When they did so violence and moral corruption quickly spread. Today we want to think about other line of Adam and Eve’s family through their third son, Seth. Two of Seth’s descendants were God fearing men and the author describes them as having walked with God. Through Noah’s life, we can see how God can use one Godly man to bless and change the course of human history. Let us open our hearts and think about what it means to walk with God. May God help us walk with Him in this generation so that we can be a blessing for His whole creation.
First, from Adam to Noah (5:1-32). Chapter 5 is the written account of Adam’s line from creation to Noah. It covers a time period of 1,556 years, but there are only 9 generations of this family during that long period. At that time people lived very long lives. One man, Methuselah, lived 969 years. It is interesting to note that this is the only genealogy in the Bible that lists the ages of the people. We can not know for sure why the author listed the ages of the men or why these men lived so long. However, we do know two things about these people. At the end of chapter four we learned that this line of Adam’s family called upon the name of the LORD. Two members of this line, Enoch and Noah, were even described as walking with God during their lifetime. We also know that when God created man He created them perfectly, to live forever with Him in the Garden of Eden. Man was made to live forever. These were the first descendants of man so their genetic material was not corrupted even though we will see that their hearts and minds were. By knowing how God created man and the relationship this people had with their creator, we can begin to understand how such a long life could be possible.
The author also makes a point to summarize each man’s life with a short sentence. For seven of the nine generations the summary sentence had the exact same pattern; “Altogether [insert name here], lived [insert # of years here] years, and then he died. Death was a certainty because of sin. There was one man whose life summary was different. Look at verses 22b-24.”Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” According to the Bible Enoch didn’t die. God simply took him away. He is one of only two men in the history of the world that never died. The other was Elijah who also walked with God through some very difficult times. We don’t have very many details about Enoch’s life but his life shows us the true meaning of life; e.g. “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
God wants us to walk with Him during our lifetime and, when we have reached the end, He wants to take us to be with Him forever in His glorious kingdom. But this is not easy. All around us we see the corruption and temptation of sin. We might think that it was easier for Enoch because his time wasn’t as corrupt as ours, but careful Bible study shows us that this is not true. In chapter four we saw how fast sin had spread in the world. Also, in just 569 years from the time God took Enoch, God would decide to destroy mankind because “every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” So Enoch’s time was no less corrupt than our time. Walking with God was no easier for Enoch, Noah or Elijah but they overcame the situation of their times and maintained a good relationship with God. We must struggle to overcome the bad influences of our culture and walk with God.
The final man in this genealogy is Noah. Look at verses 28 and 29. “When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. He named him Noah and said, ‘He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.’” Lamech’s words about his son are very interesting. Noah certainly wasn’t a comfort for the people of his time, but he was God’s instrument of comfort for every other generation. Verse 30 tells us that Lamech lived for another 595 years so he would still have been alive when Noah began building the ark. I wonder if he thought Noah was such a comfort to the people then. The Bible doesn’t say if Noah preached to the people as he built the ark, but people must have asked him what he was doing. Because Noah was an upright and righteous man, he must have answered them honestly. He must have been warning them of what God was about to do and urging them to repent of their evil ways. Instead of comforting the people he was probably making them feel very uncomfortable. In order to receive God’s comfort we all most go through some very uncomfortable times. This is because we must face our since and repent. There is no other way to receive God’s comfort.
Second, the LORD saw how great man’s wickedness had become (6:1-7). Let’s read verses 1 and 2 together. “When men began to increase in number and on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.” Who were the sons of God and why was marrying beautiful women so bad? The Bible doesn’t say exactly who the sons of God were, but from our previous Bible studies we can imagine that they were the descendants of Adam who called on the name of the LORD. These sons of God were not marrying the daughters of God. Instead they married any of the daughters of men they chose. In chapter 4 we learned that Cain’s descendant Lamech was a polygamist and these verses seem to be saying that polygamy and sexual immorality had spread into Seth’s family as well. This upset God. He wanted His sons to walk with Him, but instead they were running after beautiful women. Look at verse 3. God felt that they were contending with Him. According to dictionary.com, the word contend means “to struggle in opposition.” This means that God felt that mankind was fighting with Him, not walking with Him.
The children born to the sons of God and daughters of men were beautiful, big, strong and brave. The Bible says that they were the heroes of old and men of renown. But in God’s sight they were not so great. They were wicked men whose every thought was only evil all the time. Look at verse 5. “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Mankind was no longer calling on the name of the LORD. In fact they never thought of God at all because their thoughts were evil all the time! It is hard to even imagine every thought all day long being evil, but the Bible says this was the situation in Noah’s time. When God saw this He was grieved that He had created man and His heart was filled with pain. God was pained because He loved man and He wanted to have a special relationship with them. But man rejected God completely and chose instead the physical pleasures of the world. God couldn’t bear this rejection so He made a very difficult decision. Look at verse 7. “So the LORD said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth - men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and the birds of the air - for I am grieved that I made them.’” Man had upset God so badly that all of creation had to pay for their sins. Man’s corruption had become so great that it infected everything. So God decided to wipe everything off the face of the earth. When we sin we not only harm ourselves, but all of creation suffers.
Third, Noah walked with God (6:8-22). When God looked on most of mankind, he was grieved. However, there was one man who did not grieve God. That man was Noah. Let’s read verses 8 and 9 together. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” Noah was different than everyone else. In a world full of completely evil people, Noah lived a righteous and blameless life before God. This could not have been easy for him to do. The world was full of violence and corruption of every kind but somehow Noah found a way to overcome it all and walk with God. These days we often hear Christians complain about how hard it is to live a pure life in this corrupt generation. But our situation is nothing compared to the situation Noah faced. He was totally alone, but we are surrounded by Christians who share our struggle to live a holy life. We have people we can go to when we have problems or struggles, but Noah didn’t have anyone he could turn to for help. We should thank God from our hearts for giving us such a great cloud of witnesses to run the race of faith with. We should thank God for Christian fellowship and encourage each other in our walk with God.
Verses 11 and 12 tell us the condition of the world in Noah’s time. It was full of violence and all the people on the earth had corrupted their ways. Everyone was corrupt except Noah. Noah’s life was so pleasing to God that God decided to tell Noah what He was about to do. God told Noah that He was going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens. God also told Noah what to do to escape the coming punishment. He told Noah to build a giant ark - about 140 meters long, 23 meters wide and 13.5 meters high. God’s instructions concerning the ark were very detailed. Building this ark would not be easy. Not only would the labor be more than most people could bear, but Noah would also have to deal with the other people making fun of him. The labor alone would make most people give up before even beginning. The Bible suggests that the time it took Noah to build this ark was at least 100 years (v. 7:11) and maybe as many as 120 years (verse 3). We can not even image how much Noah and his family must have suffered during this time. But Noah never gave up. He persevered and “did everything just as God commanded him.”
Noah walked with God no matter how hard it was. Before God told him to build the ark, Noah lived for 500 years struggling not to give into the corrupt ways of the culture around him. Then God told him to do something most of us would consider completely impossible. Noah didn’t complain. Instead, he did everything just as God told him to do it. We can learn a lot from Noah’s life of faith. First of all, walking with God is not easy. It requires really hard work. It also requires being different from everyone else. We are not supposed to live like the “normal” people in society. We are to live our lives before God. We are to walk with Him and live holy lives. This will probably mean that we will be persecuted or made fun of by others. Walking with God requires perseverance. No matter how long God’s plan for us may take or how impossible it may seem we can not give up. If it takes us 120 years of back-breaking labor we must do it. We shouldn’t complain, we should thank God that He has a mission and a plan for us. Finally, walking with God requires that we obey him absolutely. Noah could have built the ark in his own way, but he did not. He did everything just as the LORD commanded him. There were probably many times when Noah wanted to take a short cut or do something in an easier way, but Noah never did anything outside of God’s instruction. He obeyed God absolutely. This must be our attitude toward the word of God.
When Noah walked with God, God could use him very preciously. God established His covenant with Noah. He used Noah to save a remnant of His creation. God used Noah to establish a new beginning. I’m sure that many times while he building the ark, Noah became discouraged and just wanted to give up. If he had given up none of us would be here today. Noah truly became a comfort and a blessing for all mankind. This shows us the importance of one person’s obedience to the word of God. We may not be able to see how God’s command to us could be of any benefit to anyone. Sometimes it may seem that our labor is in vain. But we must not give up. We must absolutely obey God to the end. If we do then God can use us as a blessing for all mankind.
In today’s passage we thought about three main topics. First we looked at Adam’s family line through the descendants of his third son, Seth. Among these descendants there were two, Enoch and Noah, who walked with God. God reward Enoch by taking him from the earth without experiencing death. God used Noah to save a remnant of creation and establish a new beginning. Second, we saw how rapidly and completely sin had spread through society. Corruption and immorality spread everywhere until every inclination of the thoughts of man became evil. The results of this so grieved God that He decided to wipe all creation off the face of the earth. Finally we thought a little about Noah’s walk with God. It was not easy and it took a long time, but Noah never gave up. Noah obeyed God absolutely. When Noah obeyed absolutely, God was able to use him as a great comfort and blessing for all of creation. May God help each of us to walk with Him day by day.