Walk With God in These Turbulent Times
“Enoch kept walking with the true God. Then he was no more, for God took him.”—GENESIS 5:24.
1. What are some features of our times that make them calamitous?
TURBULENT times! Those words well describe the years of unrest and violence that mankind has lived through since the birth of the Messianic Kingdom in 1914. During all that time, humans have been in “the last days.” Such calamities as famines, diseases, earthquakes, and wars have plagued them on an unprecedented scale. (2 Timothy 3:1; Revelation 6:1-8) Those who worship Jehovah have not been exempt. To a greater or lesser degree, we all have to cope with the hardships and uncertainties of the times. Economic pressures, political unrest, crime, and sickness are among the things that make life very difficult.
2. What challenges have Jehovah’s servants faced?
2 In addition, many of Jehovah’s servants have endured wave after wave of intense persecution as Satan has kept waging war against those “who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” (Revelation 12:17) And while we have not all suffered direct persecution, all true Christians have to struggle against Satan the Devil and the spirit that he engenders among mankind. (Ephesians 2:2; 6:12) It takes constant vigilance not to be influenced by that spirit, since we encounter it at work, at school, and in any other place where we have to rub shoulders with those who have no interest in pure worship.
Walk With God, Not With the Nations
3, 4. In what way are Christians different from the world?
3 Back in the first century, Christians likewise fought hard against the spirit of this world, and that made them very different from those outside the Christian congregation. Paul described the difference when he wrote: “This, therefore, I say and bear witness to in the Lord, that you no longer go on walking just as the nations also walk in the unprofitableness of their minds, while they are in darkness mentally, and alienated from the life that belongs to God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the insensibility of their hearts. Having come to be past all moral sense, they gave themselves over to loose conduct to work uncleanness of every sort with greediness.”—Ephesians 4:17-19.
4 How eloquently those words describe the deep spiritual and moral darkness of this world—both in Paul’s day and in ours! As in the first century, Christians today do not ‘go on walking as the nations do.’ Rather, they enjoy the wonderful privilege of walking with God. True, some people may question whether it is reasonable to say that lowly, imperfect humans walk with Jehovah. However, the Bible shows that they can. Moreover, Jehovah expects them to do so. In the eighth century before our Common Era, the prophet Micah wrote the following inspired words: “What is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?”—Micah 6:8.
How and Why Walk With God?
5. How can an imperfect human walk with God?
5 How can we walk with the all-powerful, invisible God? Clearly, not in the way that we walk with fellow humans. In the Bible the expression “to walk” can mean “to follow a certain course of action.”* With this in mind, we understand that one who walks with God follows a life course outlined by God and pleasing to him. Pursuing such a course makes us different from most of the people around us. Yet, it is the only proper choice for a Christian. Why? There are many reasons.
6, 7. Why is walking with God the very best course?
6 First, Jehovah is our Creator, the Source of our life, and the Provider of all that we need to sustain life. (Revelation 4:11) As a result, only he has the right to tell us how to walk. In addition, walking with God is the most beneficial course possible. For those who walk with him, Jehovah has made provision for the forgiveness of sin, and he offers the sure hope of everlasting life. Our all-loving heavenly Father also provides wise counsel that helps those who walk with him to make a success of life now, despite their being imperfect and living in a world that is lying in Satan’s power. (John 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:15, 16; 1 John 1:8; 2:25; 5:19) A further reason for walking with God is that our willingness to do so contributes to the peace and unity of the congregation.—Colossians 3:15, 16.
7 Finally, and most important, when we walk with God, we show where we stand on the great issue that was raised back in the garden of Eden—the issue of sovereignty. (Genesis 3:1-6) We demonstrate by our life course that we stand squarely on Jehovah’s side, and we fearlessly proclaim that he alone is the rightful Sovereign. (Psalm 83:18) We thus act in harmony with our prayer that God’s name be sanctified and his will be done. (Matthew 6:9, 10) How wise are those who choose to walk with God! They can be sure that they are going in the right direction, since Jehovah is “wise alone.” He never makes a mistake.—Romans 16:27.
8. How were the times of Enoch and Noah similar to our time?
8 How, though, is it possible to live as Christians should when times are so turbulent and most people have no interest in serving Jehovah? We see the answer when we consider faithful men of old who kept their integrity during very difficult times. Two of these were Enoch and Noah. Both of them lived in times quite similar to our own. Wickedness was rampant. In Noah’s day the earth was filled with violence and immorality. Yet, Enoch and Noah resisted the spirit of the world of their time and walked with Jehovah. How were they able to do so? To answer that question, we will in this article discuss the example of Enoch. In the following article, we will consider Noah.
Enoch Walked With God in Turbulent Times
9. What information do we have about Enoch?
9 Enoch was the first person described in the Scriptures as walking with God. The Bible record says: “After his fathering Methuselah Enoch went on walking with the true God.” (Genesis 5:22) Then, after reporting the length of Enoch’s life—which, while long compared with our life span, was short for those days—the record says: “Enoch kept walking with the true God. Then he was no more, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) Evidently, Jehovah transferred Enoch from the land of the living to the sleep of death before opposers could lay hold of him. (Hebrews 11:5, 13) Apart from those brief verses, there are few references to Enoch in the Bible. Nevertheless, from the information that we have and from other indications, we have good reason to say that Enoch’s times were turbulent.
10, 11. (a) How did corruption spread after the rebellion of Adam and Eve? (b) What prophetic message did Enoch preach, and what response did he surely meet up with?
10 Consider, for example, how quickly corruption spread in the human race after Adam sinned. The Bible tells us that Adam’s firstborn son, Cain, became the first human murderer when he killed his brother Abel. (Genesis 4:8-10) After Abel’s violent death, another son was born to Adam and Eve, and they named him Seth. Of him, we read: “To Seth also there was born a son and he proceeded to call his name Enosh. At that time a start was made of calling on the name of Jehovah.” (Genesis 4:25, 26) Sadly, that “calling on the name of Jehovah” was in an apostate way.* Many years after the birth of Enosh, a descendant of Cain named Lamech composed a song for his two wives proclaiming that he had killed a young man who wounded him. He also warned: “If seven times Cain is to be avenged, then Lamech seventy times and seven.”—Genesis 4:10, 19, 23, 24.
11 Such brief facts as the foregoing indicate that the corruption introduced by Satan in the garden of Eden quickly led to the spread of wickedness among Adam’s descendants. In such a world, Enoch was a prophet of Jehovah whose powerful inspired words resonate even today. Jude reports that Enoch prophesied: “Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.” (Jude 14, 15) Those words will find their final fulfillment at Armageddon. (Revelation 16:14, 16) Still, we can be sure that even in Enoch’s day, there were many “ungodly sinners” who heard Enoch’s prophecy with annoyance. How loving that Jehovah took the prophet out of their reach!
What Strengthened Enoch to Walk With God?
12. What made Enoch different from his contemporaries?
12 Back in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve listened to Satan, and Adam rebelled against Jehovah. (Genesis 3:1-6) Their son Abel followed a different course, and Jehovah looked with favor upon him. (Genesis 4:3, 4) Unhappily, the majority of Adam’s offspring were not like Abel. However, Enoch, born hundreds of years later, was. What was the difference between Enoch and so many other descendants of Adam? The apostle Paul answered that question when he wrote: “By faith Enoch was transferred so as not to see death, and he was nowhere to be found because God had transferred him; for before his transference he had the witness that he had pleased God well.” (Hebrews 11:5) Enoch was part of a great “cloud of [pre-Christian] witnesses,” who were sterling examples of faith. (Hebrews 12:1) It was faith that enabled Enoch to endure in right conduct throughout a lifetime of over 300 years—more than three lifetimes for most of us today!
13. What kind of faith did Enoch have?
13 Paul described the faith of Enoch and other witnesses when he wrote: “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” (Hebrews 11:1) Yes, faith is the confident expectation, based on assurances, that the things we hope for will come true. It involves an expectation so strong that it affects the focus of our life. That kind of faith enabled Enoch to walk with God even though the world around him did not.
14. Upon what accurate knowledge might Enoch’s faith have been based?
14 True faith is based on accurate knowledge. What knowledge did Enoch have? (Romans 10:14, 17; 1 Timothy 2:4) Undoubtedly, he knew about the events in Eden. Probably, he also heard about what life had been like in the garden in Eden—which was perhaps still in existence, although barred to humans. (Genesis 3:23, 24) And he knew of God’s purpose that Adam’s offspring would fill the earth and make the whole planet like that original Paradise. (Genesis 1:28) In addition, Enoch surely cherished Jehovah’s promise to produce a Seed that would crush Satan’s head and undo the ill effects of Satan’s deception. (Genesis 3:15) Indeed, Enoch’s own inspired prophecy, preserved in the book of Jude, has to do with the destruction of Satan’s seed. Since Enoch had faith, we know that he worshipped Jehovah as the one who “becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Hence, while Enoch did not possess all the knowledge that we do, he had enough to form the foundation of a firm faith. With such a faith, he kept his integrity during turbulent times.
Imitate Enoch’s Example
15, 16. How can we follow Enoch’s course?
15 Since, like Enoch, we want to please Jehovah during the turbulent times that exist today, we do well to follow Enoch’s example. We need to gain and retain accurate knowledge of Jehovah and his purpose. But we need more. We need to allow that accurate knowledge to direct our course. (Psalm 119:101; 2 Peter 1:19) We need to be guided by God’s thinking, always striving to please him with our every thought and action.
16 We have no record of who else in Enoch’s time was serving Jehovah, but clearly he was either alone or part of a small minority. We too are a minority in the world, but that does not dismay us. Jehovah will support us no matter who may be against us. (Romans 8:31) Enoch courageously warned about the coming destruction of ungodly men. We too are courageous as we preach “this good news of the kingdom” despite mockery, opposition, and persecution. (Matthew 24:14) Enoch did not live as long as many of his contemporaries. Still, his hope was not in that world. He had his eye fixed on something far grander. (Hebrews 11:10, 35) We too have our eye fixed on the fulfillment of Jehovah’s purpose. Hence, we do not use this world to the full. (1 Corinthians 7:31) Instead, we use our strength and resources primarily in Jehovah’s service.
17. What knowledge do we have that Enoch did not have, so what should we do?
17 Enoch had faith that the Seed promised by God would appear in Jehovah’s due time. It has now been almost 2,000 years since that Seed—Jesus Christ—appeared, provided the ransom, and opened the way for us, as well as for such faithful ancient witnesses as Enoch, to inherit everlasting life. That Seed, now enthroned as King of God’s Kingdom, cast Satan out of heaven down to this earth, and we see the resulting tribulation all around us. (Revelation 12:12) Yes, there is far more knowledge available to us than was available to Enoch. May we, then, have firm faith as he did. May our confidence in the fulfillment of God’s promises influence everything we do. May we, like Enoch, walk with God, although we live in turbulent times.
See Volume 1, page 220, paragraph 6, of Insight on the Scriptures, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Before the days of Enosh, Jehovah spoke with Adam. Abel made an acceptable offering to Jehovah. God even communicated with Cain before jealous anger drove Cain to commit murder. Hence, this beginning of “calling on the name of Jehovah” must have been in a new way, not in pure worship.
How Would You Answer?
• What does it mean to walk with God?
• Why is walking with God the best course?
• What enabled Enoch to walk with God despite turbulent times?
• How can we imitate Enoch?
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By faith, “Enoch kept walking with the true God”
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We firmly believe that Jehovah’s promises will come true
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Woman, far right: FAO photo/B. Imevbore; collapsing building: San Hong R-C Picture Company