Offbeat #1 - Enoch

This week we begin a new blog series entitled: Offbeat. Over the next several weeks, we will be exploring the stories of some offbeat people we find within the pages of Scripture. These aren’t people you hear much about in kids Sunday school classes, but many of their stories can provide valuable reflections for us on God, the world and ourselves. This week we begin with Enoch.
Enoch: He Walked With God
 This strange but compelling character is only mentioned four times in the Bible: once in the Old Testament and three times in the New. The first mention of Enoch comes to us very early in the Bible. We find him in Genesis 5 in the genealogy of Noah. The only thing we’re told about all the people in Noah’s genealogy is their name and age, except for Enoch. Of him, we’re told that he “walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” That last part is a way of saying that Enoch didn’t die a mortal death. God simply took him away. There’s only one other person that the Bible tells us this happened with: the prophet Elijah. Clearly, there’s something incredibly special about Enoch and his relationship with God. But what was so special about him? The Bible doesn’t say until some of the final pages of the New Testament.
The next instance of Enoch’s appearing is in the genealogy of Jesus himself, another indicator of Enoch’s importance. Then, we find him again in Hebrews 11, which is sometimes called the “Hall of Faith.” This chapter outlines many different famous heroes of the faith including Noah, Abraham, Sarah, and Joseph. In the midst of these famous names, we find obscure Enoch. All the author of Hebrews adds to our knowledge of Enoch is that the reason for his “translation” (i.e., direct ascension to Heaven) is that he “pleased God.” But still, what was it about Enoch that pleased him?
Finally, we have a breakthrough in the second to last book of the Bible. Jude informs us that Enoch prophesied against the widespread evil found in his day, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousand of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
What pleased God about Enoch enough to allow him skip out on death was his radically bold faith. In fact, Enoch may have been completely alone in his faith. Genesis tells us that in the times of Enoch “that every inclination of (mankind’s) heart was only evil all the time.” Enoch, then, may have been the only righteous, God-fearing person alive on the planet.
It was in this position of being the only righteous man, that Enoch prophesied. And, to be clear, his cry wasn’t one of judgment, but one of mercy. He was longing for the lost people of his generation to turn away from evil toward God.
This is the special faith of Enoch. A faith so special, that God spared him from death. It’s also the reason we find him in Noah’s genealogy. Enoch’s inclusion in the genealogy may give us a hint as to why God chose to use Noah of all the people on Earth. Enoch’s radical faith, passed on through the generations, is exactly the kind of quality that God wants to use. We find it in Noah and then later in Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and those other famous names from the Hall of Faith, all stemming from the faith of Enoch.
Three quick takeaways from Enoch. First, hang on to faith in God in the face of all evil. Second, call the lost to repentance. Third, pass your faith on to the next generation, that they may embrace it and be used by God.  

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