By faith, Enoch was taken from this life so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, for anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Heb 11:5-6)
So, here is that key passage about needing faith to please God. And it even gives us more on the nature of that faith: believing that God exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. It’s not enough to acknowledge that, “Yeah, there must be a God”. As Paul reminds us, even the demons know there is a God. We must seek him, desire to know him, with the expectation that this knowledge will be rewarding. It pleases God that we recognize him as generous – as one who returns blessing to us for our efforts to know him.
And the example we’re given of this is Enoch, that enigmatic character from the begats in Genesis 5. Enoch was the sixth generation after Adam, but because of the length of life spans in the beginning, his relatively brief life was all while Adam was still alive. Presumably, he was able to talk to Adam himself, hear the first man’s story about God and the garden and the fall. Interesting that the words distinguishing Enoch from the other patriarchs are the same words describing the nature of Adam and Eve’s relationship with God in the garden: they walked with God.
Genesis tells us that Enoch does not die but is simply taken away by God. Enoch, who “walked with God”. He was taken away because of his faith, Hebrews tells us – because he believed and hoped in something he had not yet seen. Perhaps heard of, through Adam, but not yet seen.
I have the advantage over Enoch. I have seen people who, I believe, were walking with God. I have observed the difference in their lives; it was what brought me back to the faith when I wandered. Enoch had nothing but a recounting of Adam’s memory of the experience – yet it was enough to give him faith that such an experience could exist. And not just to believe it, but to seek it out for himself. It apparently pleased God that Enoch recognized him as worthy of seeking out. And Enoch was rewarded for his earnest seeking – with an intimate relationship with God that did not end in death.
Lord, help me believe that You can satisfy more than the petty, worthless things I seek here on earth.