He walked with God | Genesis 5:21-32
When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech. Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died. When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died. After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Genesis 5:21-32 | ESV
They provide an instructive contrast, these two: Cain’s Lamech and Seth’s Enoch. Both were the seventh from Adam. But while Lamech married his multiple wives and immortalized his self-preservation and violence in song, Enoch “walked with God.” Cain’s line (spoiler!) might have been extinguished in the flood, but the way of Cain remains the way the world does business. The way we do business. The way of Cain is that of self-made humanity; of self-promotion and celebration; of building, achievement and accomplishment; of the attempted immortalization of ourselves through what we build and name after ourselves and our children. The way of Seth first most clearly surfacing in Enoch and then in much fuller relief in Noah, is one of quite apparent weakness. Foreshadowed in Abel (“Insignificant”) who offered a pleasing sacrifice to God, and Enosh (“Weakness”) in whose day people “began to call on the name of the Lord,” we see in Enoch, the seventh from Adam, the crest of the momentum of Seth’s line in this time before the Flood. What did he do? He walked. It’s as if in Enoch we reach back into the garden, before that tree, before the snake, before that bite, and once again, we see humanity enjoying a simple, life-giving walk with Creator. The first Bible of the early church, the Greek Septuagint, actually translated the Hebrew “walked” with “pleased” – the very same Greek word used in the Gospels in that heavenly pronouncement over Jesus: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” At the heart of such walking is a pleasing intimacy and fellowship, and this is what Enoch experienced. In fact, he experienced this to such a degree that one day he was simply gone – one of only two in the Old Testament story arc who are said not to have experienced death. If the “glory of God is man fully alive,” Enoch was clearly alive. And this, by the way, is the reason for the long ages. Many stumble at that, but the author (authors) of Genesis unashamedly report and treat all of this as history – though undoubtedly there is symbolism in the numbers as well as the names. Genesis is a masterful narrative rooted in the unfolding of history while simultaneously tantalizing us with layers of deeper symbolism and meaning. Whatever we think of the long age spans (and if you think these are wild, contemporary genealogical lists of Sumerian kings are quite literally off the chart with each ancient king living tens of thousands of years!), the point in this Story is simple. Whereas Cain’s generations are not marked by notations of years lived and sons and daughters birthed and enjoyed, Seth’s line, generation after generation enjoyed a fullness of both. Long life is not always a guarantee (just ask Enoch if you can find him); but full life is the hallmark of those who walk with God.
Are you breathlessly running “in the way of Cain,” or finding your stride in a meaningful “walk with God” like Enoch? What would you say is the key to moving from the former to the latter?
Lord, you have come “that we might have life and have it to the full.” Deliver me from the death-dealing ruts of the way of Cain in this world and launch me into a full, rich, life-giving walk with you. Guard my head, Lord – and keep my feet. Through Christ.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.