There is a man in the book of Genesis, who I find very interesting. Though his life is summed up in just a few short sentences, I find in him a source of encouragement as to the walk with God we mere human beings can actually have if we’ll go for it.
I have written before about the famous quote that Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. However, no matter how many of us use that quote over and over, most of us fail to cultivate a deep friendship with God that carries for more than a few days or weeks before we lose it again. Something about a lasting relationship with Him seems to be unattainable in our mountains and valley journeys of spiritual life and if we’re honest, also too mystical to actually hold real value in our daily activities. Being too heavenly minded to be of earthly good, or something like that.
The man in Genesis seems to be exactly that kind of guy, though. His name is Enoch and all that the Old Testament has to say about him is this:
When Jared had lived 162 years he fathered Enoch…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. (Genesis 5:18-24)
It is that last sentence that I find so amazing. I mean, can you even imagine having a friendship so deep with God that one day He decides He wants you to be with Him completely, so He just pulls you out of your life and takes you away? Enoch didn’t die. He just ceased to be, at least in terms of a corporeal existence within time and space.
Enoch Got What He Wanted Most
On one hand, this story is actually kind of unnerving. In our minds there is something “not right” about the fact that God would just take you away, forsaking everything you’ve spent your life building – family, relationships, work, etc.
On the other hand, though, I love this story. See, to have the walk with God that Enoch had, it takes a lot of time and effort and passion. I honestly believe this takes more of yourself than pursuing any human relationship ever can. And yet Enoch pulled it off. He pursued a life with God above all else and he absolutely got the reward He was seeking – life with God.
With this “reward” in mind, it is interesting to read the New Testament account of Enoch’s life.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)
Now I do notice that this does not say he “walked with God.” Instead it says that he pleased God. But with a little word study what we learn is that the New Testament writer would have been reading the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Old Testament, the translator of which could not distinguish the idea of “walking with God” from “pleasing God” in the original Hebrew. They meant the same thing.
Why is that worth mentioning? Because after reading Enoch’s story and recounting it in verse 5, the lesson the author of Hebrews passes along is this:
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
What I find very interesting is after seeing that the reward for Enoch’s pursuit of God was the he got God without limit, the writer now tells us that “whoever would draw near to God (like Enoch) must believe… that (God) rewards those who seek Him.
like a twinkie in zombieland
Let me use one of my favorite movies as an analogy for this. In the movie Zombieland, the character known as Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson, has lost everything that meant anything to him in life in the zombie apocalypse and now has one driving pursuit that keeps him motivated every day. He wants a Twinkie.
Early on in the movie there is a wrecked Hostess truck on the side of the road. Hoping to find a Twinkie, Tallahassee risks a zombie attack to check it out, but when they open the truck up, a pile of Snoballs falls out all over the ground. Tallahassee was not happy about this, and goes to stomping on all of them. Why? Because if all you want is a Twinkie, a Snoball is not going to cut it.
The Reward of Your Pursuit Must Match Your Desire
Now let’s look back at our verse. “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that…He rewards those who seek Him…” There is a desire. There is a pursuit. And there is the promise of a reward. If your desire is to draw near to God and you pursue Him, what reward other than getting God Himself is going to fulfill this passion? Nothing.
When God is your ultimate desire, He will give you exactly what you are after.
Jesus Himself said this same thing.
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:10-13)
So the ask, seek, and knock verse is not an open promise that we will receive whatever we go after in prayer. It is instead within the context of asking, seeking, and knocking to receive more of the Holy Spirit in a desire to reach a new depth in your relationship with God. And the reward is that He gives you more of Himself.
This is the same promise God made to exiled Israel in the prophecy of Jeremiah:
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
Just like Enoch, I absolutely believe that when the deepest desire of our hearts and the pursuit of our lives are in seeking more of God and to have a deeper friendship with Him than we do right now, He will reward us by giving us exactly what we seek.
The question is, do you really want it?