Revive Our Hearts Podcast

You Can Walk with God

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Watch Nancy teach this series.

Leslie Basham: When the world is dark, you don’t have to become dark with it. Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: It is possible to walk with God even when others around you don’t. When you live in an ungodly environment, you can still walk with God.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms, for February 26, 2019. Nancy’s here with day 2 in a series called “Walking with God: the Life of Enoch.”

Nancy: I have always loved reading biographies. I have a great collection of biographies, most of them of Christian missionaries, leaders, teachers, scholars, saints—people whose lives are instructive, and they’re inspiring. Someday I hope to have time to read all those biographies! (laughter)

But I have read a lot of them. I “teethed” on biographies when I was a kid, and I generally have some biography I’m in the process of reading at any given time. But I especially love studying the lives of men and women in the Scripture, and we’ve done a lot of those together in Revive Our Hearts.

Some of those biblical characters have whole chapters—even books—of the Bible about their lives. So when you study or teach on Revive Our Hearts, you kind of have to narrow it down. But in the case of others in the Scripture, we’re told very little, and yet they kind of put it under a magnifying glass to gain wisdom and understanding.

The life of the man we’re studying this week is an example of the latter. His name is Enoch, and there are only nine or ten verses in the entire Bible that mention his name. There are seven, I think, in the Old Testament (six of those are in Genesis chapter 5), and then there are three verses in the New Testament that mention Enoch as well.

So we don’t know a lot about him, but we’re told enough to encourage and edify and challenge us in our walk with the Lord. Let me invite you to turn in your Bible to . . . I started to say “the gospel of Genesis” (laughter). Actually, that’s correct, because Genesis does have the gospel in it!

So, turn to the book of Genesis. There’s good news in that book, and more good news to come in the New Testament! Let’s turn to Genesis chapter 5. We looked at the godless line of Adam through Cain in Genesis chapter 4. Now we’re looking at the godly line of Adam through his other son, Seth. We’re jumping in, in verse 21 of chapter 5.

When Enoch [seven generations from Adam] 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 [here you see it a second time, for emphasis] walked with God, and he was not for God took him (vv. 21–24).

Now, the name “Enoch” means “dedicated,” and that’s an appropriate name for this Old Testament character. He is one of two men in the Scripture of whom it was said they “walked with God.” Do you remember who the other one was? Noah. Genesis 6:9 says Noah walked with God. There are other men and women who walked with God, but these two men have that specific designation in Scripture.

I just want to unpack a little bit, today, of what it meant for Enoch to walk with God . . . and what it means for us to walk with God. First of all, it’s easy to put these people on pedestals. We see them on stained glass windows and in beautiful pictures and paintings, and we think they were something really extraordinary!

But there’s nothing in the biblical record to indicate that Enoch was anything other than an ordinary man as far as the world measures greatness. We read yesterday about the descendants of Lamech, who were renowned for their accomplishments: successful ranchers and craftsmen and artisans and musicians.

By contrast, the Scripture doesn’t give us any description of Enoch’s earthly achievements. Enoch didn’t apparently rise to the stature of men like Moses and Joseph and Daniel—who were known for their great leadership and administrative abilities. We don’t read that about Enoch.

But here’s what I love about that: Enoch’s life is a reminder that ordinary people—like us—can have an extraordinary relationship with God and can enjoy constant, close fellowship with Him! So don’t read these stories, these Bible characters, and say, “Oh, that’s just him, that’s just back then. But I could never experience a real walk with God.” Yes, you can! If we want to, if we choose to, we can walk with God, by God’s grace!

Yesterday we looked at the contrast between these two different lines from Adam. Genesis 4, the line of Cain . . . This line was preoccupied with earthly culture, earthly vocations, building cities named after themselves. This was the era of Lamech, the seventh from Adam in the line of Cain—when evil and lawlessness abounded. That was one line.

Then, beginning in verse 25 of chapter 4 (the end of chapter 4 through chapter 5) we see a parallel line from Adam. This is the godly line of Seth. And then, the Scripture tells us at the end of Genesis 4, verse 26, that Seth had a son and, “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.” Commentators think that this may have been the beginning of public corporate worship of Jehovah.

Abel had already learned what kind of sacrifice God accepted, so we have pictured there just a glimpse of justification by faith. But now we have, in Seth’s son, a picture of people coming together to call upon the name of the Lord. You see, Cain and Seth—both sons of Adam—represent two very different mindsets, two different ways of life.

One, the line of Cain, is earthly-minded. The other, the line of Seth, is heavenly-minded. The line of Cain is a law to themselves. The line of Seth is subject to the law of God. It wasn’t easy then, and it’s not easy now—or ever—to walk with God when most of the people around us are not walking with God.

So, for Enoch, it wasn’t easy for him to walk with God when most people in his era weren’t walking with God. Evil was compounding; it was multiplying in the world. It would soon call forth divine judgment in the form of the flood. In fact, in the very next chapter you read a description of the era in which Enoch lived.

Genesis 6:5 says that, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” That’s pretty bleak, isn’t it? That’s the world in which Enoch lived! But in the midst of that great darkness . . . in the midst of our great darkness in our world today, when it seems that everyone is rejecting Him, God always has a people of His own!

In this day, back in Genesis when evil was proliferating and compounding from one generation to the next, God preserved a godly line—a line that would lead to Christ, a line of faith, a line of obedience, and a line of people who would be light in the darkness. Enoch walked with God in the darkness, in the evil day.

So, what’s my take-away here from Enoch’s life? It’s this: It is possible to walk with God even when others around you don’t. When you live in an ungodly environment, you can still walk with God! Now, that may be true as we think about our world—which is very similar to what we see described in Genesis 6.

“The wickedness of man [is] great in the earth, and every intention of the thoughts of his heart [is] only evil continually” (v. 5). It seems that that would describe our world today. That might describe your workplace; it might describe your neighborhood; it might describe the school you attend; it might describe the home you live in.

You may be married to a non-believer. You may have non-believing children or non-believing parents. You may live in an ungodly, profane environment. But it is possible to walk with God, as Enoch did, even when others around you don’t.

Verses 21–22 (continuing in Genesis chapter 5) tells us, “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.Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah. I’ve been thinking about that.

We don’t know more than what that says, but it appears that the birth of Enoch’s first son was a turning point in his life, as it often is for people. You grow up, and when you have a kid, you realize, “I’m a grown-up!” And you realize, “I have responsibility!” And it can change the course of the direction of your life.

You start taking life seriously. You start thinking about someone other than yourself, perhaps, with the birth of a first child. Or, it may be some other significant marker in your life that proves to be a turning point. It may be the loss of a close friend or a family member. Something makes you stop and think about the direction of your life, about your legacy, and you begin to make different choices.

For the first sixty-five years of his life, Enoch had apparently been walking in one direction. Maybe he was just drifting, just going with the flow—building his career, fitting in with everyone around him and not standing out from the world around him in any particular way.

And then came that amazing high point of having a son! And the Spirit began to work in Enoch’s heart, drawing him to think about the state of his soul and the condition of the world around him and what kind of legacy he would leave for his son and the afterlife and what really mattered.

Whatever it was he was thinking about, everything changed after the birth of that first son: his priorities, his values, his choices, his perspective. Now, in some senses, family life can make it more difficult to walk with God: busyness, competing priorities.

First Corinthians 7 talks about this. It says if you don’t have a husband, you can give undistracted devotion to the Lord. But once you get married, you’ve got distractions! Because you’re rightly thinking about not just how you can please God, but also how you can please your mate. And then children come along, and it gets more complex, more busy, more competition.

I remember talking with a woman who had been an editor at one of the publishers we’ve worked with for years when she was single. She loved the Lord, sought the Lord. She was a godly woman. She got married a little older and then she had by the time I was talking to her, seven children, all pretty little! And one of those was a Down Syndrome child.

She was saying to me as we were talking on the phone one day, “You know what? When I was single, it was so much easier to walk with God.” Now, when she was single, she was probably thinking, It would be easier to walk with God if I could do this with a mate.

The fact is, you can walk with God in whatever season of life you’re in, including when you have family responsibilities. Enoch did it. He had a wife, he had children, he had normal everyday life responsibilities, and he walked with God as a dad, as a husband, as a man living in this very real world. It was possible for him, and it’s possible for us.

Now, from the beginning of creation, God’s intent was that He would walk with His people, and they would walk with Him. You see this all through the Scripture. It’s a thread in Old and New Testaments. For example, Leviticus 26:12: “I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.”

I want to take these last minutes today and just meditate on, “What does it mean to walk with God?” This list is not exhaustive by any means, but it’s some of the meditation I’ve been doing over the last week or so.

First of all, walking with God doesn’t mean to be a recluse or a monk. It doesn’t mean that you pull away from society, from culture, and you have this like godly, spiritual life. Then, you walk with God. No, Enoch lived a normal life with normal cares, normal responsibilities.

He had a family; he had kids, as we’ve seen. But he walked with God as he was carrying out other responsibilities, interfacing with neighbors, coworkers, and family members. Walking with God doesn’t mean you just pull out of this world. It does mean an intentional decision.

Amos 3:3 says, “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” Walking with God doesn’t just happen. It requires a conscious, deliberate choice. We agree we’re going to walk with each other. You don’t just slip into it; you don’t just slide into it; it doesn’t happen by osmosis.

You don’t say, “Oh, I want to be a godly, old lady. I hope I’m walking with God when I’m old.” Look, if you’re not walking with God now, you probably won’t be walking with Him when you’re old. It’s a choice, an intentional decision.

It’s also a consistent, continuous way of life. It’s a cultivated habit. Enoch walked with God for three-hundred years! This was not just an occasional nod to God or an occasional emotional or religious experience. This was not a hot-and-cold relationship, off-and-on, fits-and-starts.

This was a relationship, a walk with God, that affected and impacted every area of Enoch’s life . . . as it will ours. It impacts our relationships, our family, our work, our hobbies, our free time—everything!—what we eat, what we drink, where we go, what we say, what we think. A walk with God is a cultivated habit—a continuous, continual, consistent way of life.

And then, a walk with God suggests a close friendship. Enoch knew that God was with him and he considered God to be a friend. Years ago, for several years, I had a walking partner. We didn’t know each other very well when we started walking together, so at first conversations were a little awkward.

We didn’t know much about each other, about each other’s backgrounds, but we started to walk and talk. That’s what women do when they walk, right? We talk! Over the eight years that we walked together we became really close friends.

We’d be there not in any way you’d want to ever have pictures taken or posted. We were just who we were—no makeup, sweats. In the cold weather, hot weather, walking and talking about big things and little things. We got to know each other. We walked through different seasons in each other’s lives.

We would talk about the things that were troubling us, the things that were bothering us, things that were going on in her family, things that were going on in my life and ministry as we were starting up Revive Our Hearts in those early years, our problems, our concerns. We shared our lives with each other. We walked, and we talked.

And He walks with me and He talks with me,
And He tells me that I am His own.
And the joys that we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known!

(“I Come to the Garden Alone” by Anne Murray)

None other . . . except others who’ve walked with God.

You see, this was not an occasional visit that Enoch and God had. My walking partner and I didn’t have just an occasional walking together; we did it regularly. It was a close friendship that got cultivated because we were spending time with each other regularly.

There’s a nearness that comes with God—an intimacy with God—that’s cultivated through time spent walking with Him and cultivating a friendship with Him.

  • You become interested in what interests God.
  • What matters to Him starts to matter to me.
  • You get to love righteousness and hate evil.
  • You get to enjoy each other’s company, to share close communion with each other.
  • There’s a friendship involved in walking with God.

To walk with God means to be going in the same direction as God is going. What does that mean? It means I accept His viewpoint, and when it differs from mine, I take His and let mine go. It means to be aligned with Him and His will. We have the same goals. We have the same objectives. We agree with God versus arguing with God. It’s going to be His way, not my way.

Psalm 119:1 says we’re to walk in the way of the Lord, going in the same direction with Him, not going opposite directions. You can’t cultivate a friendship if you’re walking on different paths, if you’re going different directions. God loves holiness. We can’t love sin and walk with God. It means to be going in the same direction as God.

And walking with God also means to be walking in a different direction than others around us, walking in the same direction as God but sometimes walking in a different direction than others. Enoch could not walk with God and walk with the world of his day. Walking with God meant he had a different heart, a different lifestyle than others around him. He stood out!

Walking with God has never been the norm since Genesis 3, since the Fall. And what happened in Genesis 3? Remember verse 8? [Adam and Eve]heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” This suggests that this is something that had happened regularly: They had walked with God.

And on this fateful day, after they have said, “No, God, I’ll go my way. You go Yours,” God still comes walking. Isn’t that grace!?They heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden, “and the man and his wife” came running toward God? No. What did they do? They “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

So in the garden, God walked. The day they sinned, God came walking. But Adam and Eve hid from Him. They moved away from God. What did Enoch do? He moved toward God. It wasn’t that Enoch didn’t sin, but he learned how to walk in God’s grace, how to move toward God in a lifestyle of repentance. But to do that he had to walk in a different direction from others.

To walk with God means to walk humbly, because God keeps the proud at a distance, but He draws near to the humble. Micah 6, verse 8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice [and] to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” The proud heart can’t walk with God.

To walk with God implies movement and progress—not standing still, not walking in place. You’re headed somewhere on this walk. Where are you headed? Wherever God’s going! You’re headed there with Him. There’s movement; there’s progress. After three-hundred years of walking with God, Enoch wasn’t where he started out three-hundred years earlier.

By God’s grace, I had the joy of starting a walk with God at the age of four. It’s been a lot of years, it’s been a lot of growth, been a lot of change, a lot of movement, a lot of progress—sometimes three steps forward, two back; sometimes three back and two forward.

It’s not been a perfect walk by any means, but there’s been movement, there’s been progress.

And my goal, my desire, my longing, my prayer is that I can keep walking with God until that day when prayer becomes praise and faith becomes sight and I am finally home with the Lord.

To walk with God implies walking as Jesus walked. John 5 says that the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing.Jesus said, “I can do nothing on my own. I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me” (v. 30). That’s how Jesus walked with His Father.

So we walk with God as we walk with Jesus, doing only what we see the Father doing, doing nothing on our own, not seeking our own will but seeking the will of the Father. We walk with God as we spend time in Jesus’ presence, as we listen to Him, as we look to Him, as we seek His will, as we live in the light of His Word, and as we are led by His Spirit. To walk with God means walking as Jesus walked.

Now, just as we close here, walking with God is a dependent life. Three-hundred years Enoch walked with God! It’s a reminder that the One who calls you will keep you. The God of Enoch is our God! It’s a dependent life. It’s a blessed life. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have difficulties or suffering.

Yes, there will be difficulties, there will be stones in the way, there will be roots in the path, there will be mountains that we’ve got to climb and rivers that we’ve got to ford. It will have difficulties and suffering, but in that walk with God, He is with us! So we are blessed! He is protecting; He is providing; He is directing. It is a blessed life!

Walking with God is a transformational life. As we walk in His presence, we can’t help but be changed. We become like Him. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes [what?] wise.” So you walk with our kind, compassionate, generous, holy God, and you will become wise and kind and compassionate and generous and holy. Walking with God is transformational!

And walking with God is a life without regret. At the end of this walk, we will never ever say, “I wish I’d spent less time with the Lord. I wish I had focused less on my walk with Him. I wish I had focused more on temporal earthly pursuits.” No, it’s a life without regret.

Walking with God is the best possible preparation for eternity! Those who walk with Him in this life will walk with Him in the next. How do I know that? Revelation 3, verse 4, Jesus says, “You have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.”

You say, “I don’t feel very worthy.” You’re right. We aren’t worthy, and neither were those people in Sardis worthy. You know who’s worthy? Jesus is worthy! When you walk with Him, when you are in Him, He makes you worthy. Those who walk with Him in this life will walk with Him in white in the next life.

So, live now, walk now as you will wish that you had done then.

Leslie: An extraordinary relationship with God . . . has that always seemed out of reach? Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been giving you great news. You can have that kind of relationship! She’ll be right back to pray.

To help you take some next steps in developing a closer relationship with the Lord, we’d like to send you a book Nancy wrote called A Thirty Day Walk with God in the Psalms. Each day Nancy will lead you through a psalm that she finds especially meaningful and will answer questions to help you dig into the text and put it into practice.

When you make a donation of any size at ReviveOurHearts.com, we’ll send you a copy as our way of saying “thanks.” You can also donate by phone; just call 1–800–569–5959. Ask for A Thirty Day Walk with God in the Psalms when you call with your gift.

Do you want to please God? I think we all do. The problem is, we can’t please God on our own. But there is a solution. Nancy will talk about it tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts. Now she’s back to pray.

Nancy: Oh, Lord, may we walk with You as Enoch did. How we praise You that the God who walked with Enoch walks with us today. And we give You thanks in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you walk with God, even in a wayward world. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.




 

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