And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
Observe, Be the times never so bad, it is men's own fault they are bad too. Eminent holiness, and intimate communion with God, may be attained in the worst of times. The reasons are —
1. Because, however men grow worse and worse, heaven is still as good and bountiful as ever (Isaiah 59:1, 2).
2. Because those that mind for heaven must row against the stream always; and if they do not, they will be called down the stream in the best of times; for, says our Lord (Matthew 11:12).
3. The badness of the times affords matter to excite God's people the more to their duty and close walking with God. The profaneness and formality of those they live among, and the dishonour done to God thereby, should be like oil to the flame of their holy love and zeal, as it was to David (Psalm 119:126, 127).
4. Because, as the Lord shows Himself most concerned for the welfare of those who are most concerned for His honour, so the worse the times are, they that cleave to Him closely may expect to fare the better.
I. Let us consider Enoch's holy life in this world; "Enoch walked with God." The Spirit of God puts a special remark on this. It is Enoch's honour, that he did not walk as others did, after their lusts. Observe,
1. God takes special notice of those who are best when others are worst (Genesis 6:9).
(1) To be thus argues an ingenuous spirit, a love to the Lord for Himself, and a love to His way for its likeness to Himself; that the soul is carried thus to it against the stream of the corruption of the age.
(2) It argues not only grace, but the strength of grace. It must be strong faith, love, etc., that so much bear out against the strong temptation to apostasy, arising from the combination of a generation against God and His way. To be holy when the helps to a holy life are least in the world, argues the vigour of grace in the heart. Labour ye then to be best while others are worst, to confront the impiety of the generation wherein ye live. Do they indulge themselves in licentiousness? be ye the more strict and holy in your walk. Do they take up with mere externals in religion? strive ye the rather to get into the inner court, to taste and see, and here to have communion with God. Observe,
2. It is the honour of a professor of religion to outgo others in the matter of close walking with God. In the first part of the words we have —
(1) The person characterized; and that is Enoch. There was another of this name descended from Cain, who had a city called after his name (Genesis 4:17). Immortality is desired of all; and because men cannot stave off death, they follow after a shadow of immortality, that at least their name may live when they are gone. Therefore that has been an ancient custom, for men to call their lands after their own names (Psalm 49:11). How much better was it with this Enoch, that took that course to get on him the name of the city of God, which Christ promises to write on all his people (Revelation 3:12)? The city called by the name of the other Enoch was destroyed by the deluge, and is now unknown; but the city of God lasts still, and will last forever. Observe, True piety is the best way to honour, even to true honour. For "the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance," when "the memory of the wicked shall rot." Observe, They that live near God are most likely to be put upon His secrets, and to know most of His mind (Psalm 25:14).
II. His character; he "walked with God." He lived like a man of another world; a life of close communion with God. It imports —
(1) That he was really religious; not only religious before men, but before God. Religion lies inwardly. We are that really which we are before the Lord; "He is a Jew which is one inwardly." See, here, what he was: a spiritual traveller through the world; he "walked." "He walked with God." He looked on himself as a pilgrim and stranger in this present world (Hebrews 11:13).
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.