Enoch enjoyed close fellowship with the Lord. In fact, his communion with God was so intimate that the Lord translated him to glory long before his life on earth might have ended. “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5, NKJV).
Why did the Lord choose to translate Enoch? The opening word of this verse tells us very plainly that it was because of his faith. Moreover, the closing phrase tells us Enoch’s faith pleased God. The Greek root word for ‘please’ here means fully united, wholly agreeable, in total oneness. In short, Enoch had the closest possible communion with the Lord that any human being after the fall could enjoy, and this intimate fellowship was pleasing to God.
The Bible tells us Enoch began walking with the Lord after he begot his son, Methuselah. Enoch was sixty-five at the time. He then spent the next 300 years fellowshipping with God intimately. To our knowledge, this man never performed a miracle, never developed a profound theology, never did any great works worthy of mention in scripture.
Instead, we read this simple description of the faithful man’s life: “Enoch walked with God.”
Hebrews makes it clear that Enoch was so in touch with the Father, so close to him in hourly communion, God chose to bring him home to himself. The Lord said to Enoch, in essence, “I can’t take you any further in the flesh. To increase my intimacy with you, I have to bring you to my side.” So he whisked Enoch away to glory.
How often do we pray for that level of deeper fellowship with God? How often do we long to meet with God? Enoch’s life is a wonderful testimony of what it means to truly walk in faith, and it should inspire us to prayer and longing.
Consider the way God himself described his relationship with Abraham: “Abraham my friend” (Isaiah 41:8, NKJV). Likewise, the New Testament tells us, “Abraham believed God…and he was called the friend of God” (James 2:23).
What an incredible commendation, to be called the friend of God. Most Christians have sung the well-known hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” These biblical passages bring home that truth with power. To have the Creator of the universe call a man his friend seems beyond human comprehension, yet it happened with Abraham. It’s a sign of this man’s great intimacy with God.
The Hebrew word that Isaiah uses for friend here signifies affection and closeness. The closer we grow to Christ, the greater our desire becomes to live wholly in his presence. Moreover, we begin to see more clearly that Jesus is our only true foundation.
The Bible tells us Abraham “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). To Abraham, nothing in this life was permanent. Scripture says the world was “a strange place” to him. It was no place to put down roots. The heavenly country Abraham yearned for isn’t a place on earth. Rather, it is being home with the Father. You see, the Hebrew word for the phrase “heavenly country” is pater. It comes from a root word meaning Father. So, the heavenly country Abraham sought was, literally, a place with the Father.
Yet Abraham was no mystic. He was not an ascetic who put on holy airs and lived in a spiritual haze. This man lived an earthly life, heavily involved in the world’s affairs. After all, he was the owner of thousands of head of livestock, and he had enough servants to form a small militia. Abraham had to be a busy man, directing his servants and buying and selling his cattle, sheep and goats.
Yet somehow, despite his many business affairs and responsibilities, Abraham found time for intimacy with the Lord.
Years ago, I experienced a severe back injury. I used to do long-distance bike riding; but after the injury, I was unable to move like I had been before. I gained probably 20-25 pounds. That shocked me a bit, so I started working on getting my health back, exercising and trying to eat right. A serious problem is I hate vegetables. They’re awful, but I try to eat my greens.
I have another problem too. Every time I start to lose weight, there’s a number that’s not as low as my original goal, but it’s where I begin to get satisfied. At first, losing weight is no problem, but then I hit that number like a roadblock. I can’t seem to get under it, and then my brain starts telling me, “Hey, you’re looking pretty good!” That last hurdle is the hardest part because I become satisfied with ‘good enough.’
This mentality is so dangerous for us because it leaves us without the fullness of what we desire. What’s worse, many of us have this in the church.
We get a word on Sunday, or we hear an online sermon that blesses us, or we have lunch with a Christian friend who inspires our heart, and that’s good enough for us. We’re satisfied. Do any of you fill your car’s gas tank only three-quarters of the way? Or maybe you only fill it halfway? Who puts just a quarter of a tank of gas in the car? The Holy Spirit wants to fill us with life and life abundant, but many of us get a touch of the Spirit, and then we’re satisfied. We think, “Good enough.”
Let me tell you, half-fillings of the Spirit, yesterday’s fullness and partial measures of outpouring are insufficient in these wicked days. You will be beaten down and defeated. You will be overrun if you only take half measures.
What God has available for you is far beyond what you’ve ever dreamed, thought or imagined. The fullness of God is what he is holding for you so that you can truly experience the things of Jesus Christ. God wants to raise up a generation of his people who are full of his presence, those who will take a stand against the darkness and hear Christ say, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18, ESV).
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:13-14, ESV).
The word ‘truth’ here in the “belt of truth” actually doesn’t mean the Word of God. Most people don’t realize this. The sword of the Spirit, mentioned later on in this series of verses, is called the Word of God. Truth here simply means sincerity. God has armor for us, and one of the first things he wants us to put on is sincerity. In other words, be real because you can’t be protected if you’re an actor.
Satan is the master actor, the master deceiver. He comes as an angel of light (see 2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
So any act of insincerity — act one way at church and another way at home, anything secret, anything hidden, anytime we cover up with a false exterior — that’s just like whistling for the enemy to come and attack.
He’s going to launch an attack against many of us at one point or another anyway, so why invite more of his attention? How many of us, since we became a Christian, have gone through some battles with the enemy? How many of us have experienced spiritual warfare? It’s hard for some of us to even admit that because we’re afraid that someone will hear that and say, “Whoa, I thought you were victorious in Christ! What do you mean Satan’s attacking you?”
He attacked Jesus for 40 days and 40 nights! This is why the Bible says, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). You don’t know what the person beside you is going through, but if we can be honest and sincere with one another and encourage one another with God’s promises, we will be able to stand firm against our enemy.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.
I was led to read and study Revelation 9:1-12, the chapter on the locusts. As I read verse 4 about God’s command to the locusts not to destroy anything green, a thought leaped out at me.
I realized that the key to remaining safe in any time of terror was to “stay green.” David wrote, “I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever” (Psalm 52:8, NKJV). The “green” that David refers to here signifies spiritual health. It means to flourish, grow, be fruitful. David is telling us, “My health comes from trusting God. I flourish because I turn to him. My trust in him produces spiritual life in me.”
Here is a glorious truth about the power of staying green. “Thus says the Lord; Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited” (Jeremiah 17:5-6).
The Lord is warning us, “Don’t trust in man. If you put your faith in human power rather than in me, you’ll be cursed.”
The passage goes on, though, to describe what our faith will produce if we put our trust in the Lord. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
As we trust wholly in the Father, we put down roots in his river, and his divine strength—luscious, green, spiritual health—flows in us and through us. While everything around us is decaying, we’ll flourish as green trees, healthy and strong. When the hour of trial comes, we won’t languish or wilt. Instead, our faith will be growing.