There are so many Bible characters that are fascinating to read about. Perhaps what amazes me the most is their very human qualities. Of course they were human, just like you and me, but their lives were recorded in the one book that has stood the the test of time. It tells the story of generation after generation, from Genesis to Revelation. So you would think that there had to have been something pretty remarkable about them, to be mentioned in this ancient, yet ever relative book.
The truth is, they were special. They displayed a truth that illustrates how a human life, when intimately connected to God, can do amazing exploits. They became powerful, courageous and overcoming when they were completely dependent on God, but vulnerable to weakness of character and poverty of spirit when choosing their own path in life.
Many times we see this contrast in character vividly displayed in the same person. I'm thinking of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Saul, David, Gideon and the Apostle Paul. Oh my, we could really go into detail about each one, and the twists and turns their destinies took, each time they chose to walk according to their own ways, and the extreme change when they walked according to God's.
What has always fascinated me is the generations of kings in Israel's biblical history. It's almost crazy how their positions on following after God, flip flopped drastically from one generation to the next. One king would be completely devoted to the Lord and rule dependent on His wisdom, connected through the voice of the prophets' and scripture written on ancient scrolls. In his years of reign, the nation would prosper substantially and live in peace. But his successor would be as evil and wicked of heart as his predecessor was good. Under his rule, the nation would be flung into poverty and slavery.
Like I said, the Bible makes for some pretty fascinating reading! But let's take a look at one character I have always been particularly intrigued by, His name was Enoch. The Bible mentions one of Cain's sons being called Enoch, but the Enoch we are discussing came several generations after him. Even though the Bible has little detail concerning his life, it mentions him in the most significant passages that relate to the almost heroic, world changes recorded in the Bible. Now, since I recently read a portion of a book relating to the author Leo Tolstoy, I'm reminded of a particular quote of His that seems to fit in right here, regarding the somewhat mysterious character of Enoch. "Something had happened which was not noticed by anyone, but which was much more important than all that had been exposed to view." (The Forged Coupon).
In Genesis 5:21-24, Enoch makes his first grand appearance in the Bible. "When Enoch was 65 years old, Methuselah was born. Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God after the birth of Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were 365 years. And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him]."
So, interesting to me, is that the Bible mentions Enoch only being in habitual fellowship with the Lord after the birth of his first son, Methuselah, and at that time, he was 65 years old. The relationship he enjoyed with his creator was so significant, that after what I call, 'a year of years' - 365 to be exact, God just decided to translate him as he was, and take him home to be with Him in heaven. How amazing is that?! There are a few clues I came across to explain why Enoch was so special that he got chosen to leave earth, so 'early' on in his life. That alone is quite laughable I know. But the Bible records that Enoch's father lived 962 years, and his grandfather, 895 years. Enoch's son lived to 969 years, his grandson, 777 years, and his great grandson, Noah (the one who built the arc), lived 950 years. So Enoch's life of 365 years was noticeably short in comparison to those who came before and after him in those times.
Now back to the clues: Hebrew 11:5 says that even before Enoch was taken to heaven, it was recorded that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God. The very next verse says, "But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]."
I love how the Bible lays out a mystery and then immediately gives the solution to it! The truth of the matter, is that Enoch got taken straight to heaven, without experiencing death, as a result of his intimate connection with God, which the Lord regarded as pleasing and satisfactory. The Bible says that the only way to please God, is to have faith in Him. To come near to Him, believing that He exists and that He rewards whomever earnestly and diligently seeks Him. Enoch's heart towards God caused him to get taken straight to heaven, and escape death on earth.
Now, of course this isn't a way for us to earn a quick trip out of here to heaven, without facing physical death (as appealing as that may be). The Old Testament, is regarded as a shadow and type of the New. I believe that if we choose to live vitally connected to God through Jesus, by having His Word, continuously living in our hearts; we will experience true spiritual life, and never have to experience spiritual death. That's our lesson from Enoch. What's more, is the life we have in Jesus, overflows with peace and joy and prosperity, into every area of our lives - as it did for all those biblical characters who lived devoted to and dependent on God. But since we have this human nature to contend with, unless we purposefully choose to walk this way every single day, we can flip flop into the consequences of following after our own plans and ways, instead of Gods.
Let's take a lesson from Bible history, and experience the abundant life that's to be had, from purposefully, living vitally connected, in habitually fellowship with God.