Revive Our Hearts Podcast

What Legacy Are You Leaving?

Episode Resources

Watch Nancy teach this series.

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds you: You’re leaving a legacy through every choice you make today.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: What will be the testimony of my life? What will be the marker, the testimony of your life? How will you be remembered? How will I be remembered?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms, for February 25, 2019.

The Bible talks about a man named Enoch who walked with God and then God took him. Did Enoch really never die? Nancy is here to explore this question and more. Let’s listen.

Nancy: Well, over the past week or so my husband and I have been shopping for cemetery plots. Now, we’re hoping we don’t have to use them any time soon, but we think this is one of those things that’s a good idea to think about while you can still think about it.

And the fact is, unless the Lord returns first, at some point, we’re going to die. Our spirits will go to be with the Lord, but our bodies will be laid to rest in the ground, until the final resurrection when they will raised and reunited with our spirits, and we will be forever with the Lord.

So, thinking about this thing of cemeteries and cemetery lots is timely as I’ve been meditating on the life of a man that we read about in the Old Testament, one of two men in the Bible who never died.

I’m talking about Enoch. The other was Elijah, and we’ll reference him a little bit in this series as well. But over the next several days, I want to highlight several different features and facets of the life of Enoch.

There are only nine verses in the whole Bible that mention him by name, and somehow we’re going to do five programs—a week’s worth of content on the life of Enoch—and more that could be said. I was learning more this morning as I was continuing to meditate on the life of this amazing man.

But I want to start that series today by talking about the backdrop of his life, the context, the world in which he lived. This is important to help our understanding of the life, the message, and the ministry of Enoch and to discern what the Lord has to say to us today through him.

So let me invite you, if you have your Bible, and I hope you do, to turn to Genesis chapter 4. Let me hear those pages turning—one of my favorite sounds. If you’ve got your phone there where you can scroll and find it, I want to encourage you to read along. We’re going to read quite a bit of this chapter today, and I’d love for you follow and see it with your own eyes.

Now, Genesis chapter 4 is a passage you don’t hear taught on very often. Genesis 4 and 5 includes some genealogy, long names, lists, names that are hard to pronounce, but they’re important to the whole gospel story. And Genesis 4 tells us about the first of two different family lines that came from Adam and Eve. There were two lines. The first we read about in chapter 4. The second we’re going to read about in chapter 5.

So chapter 4, beginning in verse 1:

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord. And again, she bore his brother Abel.

Now, as you go on in this chapter, you remember that Cain and Abel, these two brothers, both bring an offering to the Lord. God accepted Abel’s offering, but He rejected Cain’s. (That’s another story for another time.) But you remember that Cain got really angry. He rose up and killed his brother. And the conclusion, in verse 12, God says to him that there’s going to be a curse that he’s going to experience, and He said, “You shall become a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”

And then beginning in verse 17 of chapter 4 of Genesis, we have the family line of Adam through Cain. So Cain is the son whose offering was rejected, the one who killed his brother, and now he’s made a fugitive and a wanderer, but he marries and has children, and his children have children. So we see the family line of Adam through Cain.

Let me read beginning in verse 17 of Genesis 4: “Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch.”

Now, just to further confuse you, this is a different Enoch than the one we’re going to be talking about this week. This paragraph is the only time he is mentioned in Scripture. So Cain has a son named Enoch.

When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. To Enoch (this is Cain’s son) was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah (vv. 17–19).

Now, pause there on the name Lamech. Lamech is the seventh generation from Adam in the line of—whose line?—Cain. He’s also the first bigamist. What is a bigamist? It’s somebody who has two wives, in this case. This was contrary to God’s plan for marriage, which, as far as we know, had been maintained to this point: one man for one woman for one lifetime. But Lamech takes two wives.

Now, from an earthly perspective, Lamech’s family was successful and prosperous. It often happens to people who don’t follow the Lord, doesn’t it. In this life and in this world, they seem to be doing just great. In fact, in Psalm 73 you read about how the psalmist is really troubled by this. He says, “The people who don’t obey You, everything goes great for them. They’re prosperous. They succeed. But I try to obey You, and I end up in a heap of trouble.”

This is some of what we see in the life of Lamech. Look at verse 20:

[His first wife] Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah [the second wife] also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron (vv. 20–22).

Now that’s a lot of names—are you following so far? So, the seventh from Adam in the line of Cain is Lamech who marries two wives, and these are the names of the sons that he has through those two wives.

And what you see in this paragraph is man at his best, doing life without God. There’s no indication, successful as they are—one is a rancher, another in the field of music, and another with implements of bronze and iron—there’s no indication of their ordering their lives around God. They’re ordering their lives around their careers, around their future, around themselves, building a city, and naming it after your son.

So, as Matthew Henry says about this passage,

Here was a father of shepherds, and a father of musicians, but not a father of the faithful. Here is one to teach about brass and iron, but none to teach the good knowledge of the Lord: here are devices how to be rich, and how to be mighty, and how to be merry; but nothing of God, of his fear and service.

And so we have a family that is doing well, from all that we can tell, but they are not fitting in with God’s plan for marriage, for family, for life. They’re not ordering their lives around God.

And so the seeds that were planted by Adam and Eve, seven generations earlier, of living life independently of God, continued to take root, to multiply, and to produce a harvest. In fact, this life that seems to be so successful ends up being a crime statistic.

Verses 23 and 24 tells us the story about how Lamech murdered a young man who wounded him, and rather than lamenting the loss of life and repenting of his impulsive murder, he brags about it to his wives. And so we see in this passage, highlighted in the life of Lamech—seventh from Adam in the line of Cain—we see the spread of a godless civilization.

Now, when we get to verse 25 of chapter 4, we see the introduction of a new family line. Verse 25:

Adam knew his wife again [When is again? This is after Cain had killed Abel], and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord (vv. 25–26).

Now, what we have in the very end of chapter 4 and then all of chapter 5 of Genesis is the family line of Adam through Seth, all the way to Noah. This is the line through which the Messiah would one day come.

So read, for example, in chapter 5, verse 3:

When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.

This is the godly seed that replaced Cain, who was the fugitive, the wanderer, the man who was living life on his own.

Verse 4:

The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he [what’s the next word?] died.

He died. Three words—fulfillment of what God had told Adam back in the garden: “In the day that you sin, you will surely die.” Now, they didn’t die physically that day. They died spiritually. Their spiritual life was cut off from communion and relationship with the Spirit of God. They lived physically, in Adam’s case for 930 years. But eventually, he died physically as well.

And the rest of this chapter 5 of Genesis is the record of one generation after another, and you see this pattern repeated pattern. Look at verse 18—skipping several generations here:

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” (vv. 18, 21–24).

Now, just a little parenthesis here: The early patriarchs, as you can see already, lived much longer lives than people live today, some of them up to almost a thousand years of age. Adam lived to 930. We’re going to see later that Methuselah lives to be 969 years old. And according to the record we have in Genesis—see if you can follow this: Adam and his son Seth, who was Enoch’s great-great-great-great grandfather, would both have still been alive when Enoch was born. Adam was still living and so was his son Seth. So Enoch and Adam would have been alive at the same time for approximately 300 years.

Now, trying to catch all these names and years and dates and fathers and sons—in my family we call these “hairdresser stories” (laughter) because my mother goes to the hairdresser, and she comes back with these complex, convoluted stories that she heard about. “So-and-so did this, and she did that, and then they married the dog catcher’s hairdresser’s whatever.” And if it’s too complex, we call it a “hairdresser story.” Sometimes Genesis 5 reminds me of a “hairdresser story.” You’ve got to really dig down and hang in there to keep up with it. Are you following so far?

Okay, so now, let’s compare Lamech and Enoch. Lamech is the seventh from Adam in the godless line of Cain, and Enoch is the seventh from Adam in the godly line of Seth. Lamech is an example of lawlessness, rejecting God. Enoch is an example of walking with God.

Now we’re going to see over these next several days that Enoch walked with God. He believed God. He pleased God. He told others about God. And finally, he was taken by God out of this earth and to the presence of God.

And the story of the contrast between the line of Cain, that godless line, and the godly line of Seth, through whom the Redeemer would ultimately come, reminds me of another story. I call it “A Tale of Two Men.”

Buchanan, Michigan, is the home of Life Action Ministries, which is the parent ministry of Revive Our Hearts, and the Revive Our Hearts team is based here as well. And, in many ways, Buchanan is your average, all-American, small town.

Like many small towns, Buchanan has one of everything: One library. One post office. One McDonalds—we didn’t get that until more recent years. One Pizza Hut. One small grocery store. And one cemetery. The cemetery is located on the west end of town, just off the main street that runs all the way through town.

In the middle of that cemetery is a remarkable monument. You can’t miss it. It’s up just a little bit elevated in the cemetery. It’s approximately twelve feet high, and it was erected in 1876 by a wealthy, local landowner named Joseph Coveney. He built it as a tribute to himself and his beliefs. Twenty-three years later, after building this monument in 1897, Coveney was buried at the same location.

Joseph Coveney was a radical free thinker. He was an admirer and follower of Thomas Paine, Robert Ingersoll, and Voltaire—you may remember that name, the French Enlightenment writer and philosopher who was known for his attacks on Christianity. All these men were noted infidels. And in an article written the day after his death, the New York Times referred to Coveney as “one of the most noted infidels in the United States.” And he lived just down the road from where we’re meeting today.

Coveney openly blasphemed the Christian faith throughout his life. He would often drive a pair of beautiful white carriage horses into Buchanan from his farm. One horse he named “Jesus Christ,” and the other he named “The Virgin Mary.” As he rode through town, he would call out their names loudly, and he swear at them. He was just a profane man.

And this marble monument in the Buchanan cemetery is entitled “A Free Thinker’s Monument.” It’s filled with inscriptions on all four sides, carved into the stone. Most of them are sacrilegious. And these are inscriptions which Coveney chose to express his religion. Here are some of those, for example:

One says:

Nature is the true god; science the true religion.

Another says:

The more priests; the more poverty.
The more religion; the more lying.
The more saints; the more hypocrites.

And this one:

Christianity began with a dream; and ended with a murder.

But perhaps the saddest inscription on the monument is this one, added after his death:

He died as he had lived, a disbeliever in the Bible, God, and the Christian religion.

In fact, on his deathbed, his son and his daughter begged him to renounce his beliefs and to ask God for His forgiveness, but the ninety-two-year-old dying man replied in a whisper, “Die as I lived—I disbelieve in God, the Bible, and the Christian religion.”

Well, a couple hundred yards away, in the same cemetery, is another marker. This one is much simpler and smaller. It marks the grave of a man named Del Fehsenfeld, Jr. Del is the founder of Life Action Ministries, as I’ve said, the parent ministry of Revive Our Hearts. We’re sitting today in the National Ministry Center that’s the headquarters of Life Action and Revive Our Hearts, founded by this man.

I had the privilege of serving under his leadership for ten years during my twenties, and I had a close friendship with Del and his wife Judy and their five children. (And with Judy and the children and their children to this day.)

In 1989, at the age of forty-two, Del was diagnosed with a fast-growing brain tumor. Seven months later, on a cold winter day in November, we stood in that cemetery and watched as Del’s body was laid to rest in the earth.

Now, Joseph Coveney and Del Fehsenfeld, Jr. both had a message burning in their heart. Both of them devoted their lives to proclaiming that message. And both of them died as they had lived. But the contrast between these two men could not be more stark.

These two markers in Buchanan’s Oak Ridge Cemetery are a graphic picture of two very different belief systems, two very different world views, two very different kingdoms, and two men who lived and died in very different ways. And how unlike Coveney’s dying words were those uttered by Del.

During his final weeks on earth, his seizures became more intense and more frequent from the brain tumor, but throughout that, Del enjoyed an unusual, intimate communion with the Lord.

I had the privilege of spending many hours with his family in their home during those weeks. And one afternoon, a day or so before Del slipped into unconsciousness for the final time—he was hospitalized—but just before that, I was sitting near his hospital bed while he seemed to be sleeping. But all of a sudden, without opening his eyes, he began to pray.

Now, it had become really difficult for him to speak by this time, so his words were soft. They were barely intelligible. But I will tell you this: They were unforgettable. And as far as I know, these were the last words that Del Fehsenfeld spoke on this earth, and here’s what he said:

Lord, please bring back Your glory to Your Church. Send the fire. Turn the hearts of Your people. May they know that You alone are God.

A few days ago, Robert and I drove over to the Buchanan Oak Ridge Cemetery where these two men are buried. We stood by that tall, stone monument erected by Joseph Coveney, decades before his death, proudly proclaiming his disbelief in God. But you know, with the passing of time, the beliefs inscribed on that monument have become worn by the wind, snow, rain, and much of the text is no longer readable.

And then we drove to the back side of the cemetery and stood by another, much less prominent gravestone. A memorial to a modern-day Enoch. A man whose godly influence will live and will not be weathered by time. It will live on till Jesus returns. And here’s what that grave marker says:

Del Fehsenfeld, Jr.

(1947–1989)

Founder, Life Action Ministries

He knew God.
He loved God.
He walked with God.
He believed God.
He lived and died
For the glory of God.

We live in an age of Cain, don’t we? Life lived without God. People taking no thought for God. Disbelieving in God, in Christianity, and the Bible. It’s rampant.

But there are some Enochs. There are some men like in the line of Seth who are walking with God, who are seeking God. And today, as then, in the days of Enoch, the eyes of the Lord are going throughout the whole earth looking, looking for men and women whose hearts believe in Him, who want to walk with Him, who trust Him, who are living and dying for God’s glory.

So the question is: As the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth today, will they stop where you are? At your home? At your workplace? At your school? In your room? Here in this room? At your seat? The eyes of the Lord are looking for an Enoch, for a Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., for a man or woman whose heart is wholly His.

So as I stood in that cemetery just a few days ago and I’ve been contemplating Joseph Coveney and Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., and then the lives of Cain and Seth and Enoch, I’m left with questions like these:

  • What kind of marker is being written by my life?
  • If the marker over my grave someday—wherever that may be—tells what I really believed and who I really was, what will be the testimony of my life?
  • What will be the marker, the testimony of your life?
  • How will you be remembered?
  • How will I be remembered?
  • Generations from now, people who never knew us, what will they know about us from the telltale marks left by our lives?
  • What kind of legacy am I leaving?
  • What kind of legacy are you leaving?

And so, Lord, as we start into this study of Enoch, from the righteous line of Seth, we realize that’s all by grace; because, apart from Your grace, we would all be in the line of Cain. We would be the Lamech, going our own way, doing our own thing, living outwardly successful lives, but ignoring You, ignoring Your law, and doing it our way.

So we thank You for Your grace that has made known to us the gospel and the Word of Christ. And we thank You for calling us to walk with You.

I pray that in this series You would help us to let You search our hearts. I pray that we would let You do in us and through us all that is Your good pleasure so that for generations to come others might look at the story of our lives and might be drawn to believe in Christ and to walk with Him. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: What kind of story are you telling with your life? Each day we turn another page, and before you know it, the tale is over.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been inspiring us to make sure it’s a good story, one that glorifies God.

One of the best ways you can do that is by connecting with the Author and Finisher of our faith each day. We need to get on the same page with Him or else the story is going to take some unfortunate turns.

Maybe you need some help to get going. You may be asking: “How do I connect with the Lord each day?” So to help you, we’d like to send a book by Nancy called, A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms.

Here’s how it works: Each day you read a psalm—Nancy’s picked some of her favorites. Then you’ll read insights from Nancy and answer questions to find insights for yourself.

If you’re new to Bible study, this would be a great place to start. And if you’re not new to Bible study but just have not gotten around to this study, now might be the perfect time.

We’d like to send you A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Make your donation at ReviveOurHearts.com, and you’ll see a place to let us know you’d like the book, or ask for it when you call 1–800–569–5959.

Nancy says, “When the world is dark, you don’t have to become dark with it.” She’ll show you how when she continues in the series on Enoch. Please be back to hear more tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is helping you leave a godly legacy. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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