Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Walk with God til you are no more.

Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. Gen. 5:24

What a phrase “…(he) walked with God, then he was no more…” I have thought about this quite a bit lately and have been a bit envious of good ole Enoch. Who gets to cheat death and go to God? That is way cool. The only way I know to potentially top that is hitch a ride on a flaming chariot one your way out and Elijah already pulled that one. But I think there may be a way for all of us to experience walking with God, and being no more. When we are called to follow Jesus, we are called to be no more. Jesus says, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” If we walk with Jesus, it is a requirement to become no more and then God will take us away to real life. True life. Abundant life. I don’t know exactly what the circumstances of Enoch’s life was when God took him but I believe the principle this remains. If we walk with God, we will be no more because God will take us (our life as we know it) away. That is a trip I surely want to take.


Anonymous said...

I have been asking several people this question for about a year now, so I will ask you, since you have mentioned my favourite character in the Bible.

When we read the Old Testament we hear of Adam, Eve, Enoch and Noah walking with God. In the early Old Testament, God would talk with mankind without needing to prefix his conversations with "Do not be afraid" or "I am who I AM" - everyone knew who He was and everyone wasn't the least bit afraid or surprised when He turned up and addressed them. Cain was even cheeky and dismissive to God. Hagar was honest and obedient. Abraham held conversations with Him on several occasions. David and Solomon conversed with Him and the prophets all heard Him. Moses asked to see His glory and - by God's grace - his desire was met (in a diluted form). Paul had an impromptu encounter of the third kind on the road to Damascus. All these people didn't even have the Bible nor the insight into God's plan that we have these days. The New Testament tells us God is not afar off, impersonal, disinterested, but is our Father, our Abba, to whom we can bring all our cares. We are instructed how to pray - and that's an extremely important lesson - but not, as far as I can see, how to receive an answer from God. It seems to me rather like teaching someone how to use an e-mail program, detailing for them the way the Compose Message function should be used, but not ever telling them about the Fetch New Mail functionality. We can pray to God any time, any where. We don't need to go to a Temple and we don't need an earthly intercessor any more. We can pray to God with such liberty, entering with boldness His presence through the atonement Jesus provides. Yet how can we hear back from Him? If a human father were to provide his human child with fantastic food, safe shelter, nurturing love, appropriate education, take him on exciting holidays and listened to him for hours... but in 28 years never said anything to the child, we would deem that relationship dysfunctional.

Our relationship with God is likened to a marriage where the church is the bride of Christ. However if I were married to someone, and she evidently loved me, but any time I asked her anything she would merely indicate I should consult the weblog / book / newspaper article she wrote 2000 years ago, I would find that rather unsatisfactory. I don't want to read a public broadcast, sent out indiscriminately to millions, and attempt to glean a personalised interpretation from some of it when integrating it with myriad circumstantial co-incidences in the local environment that may or may not be cryptic omens key to distilling the/a plausible 'answer'. That's rampant with ambiguity and totally inadequate as a form of communication between two persons in any kind of progressive, constructive, mutually respectful association. If I speak directly, clearly, unambiguously and personally to the other person in a language I know they understand, then I expect them to have the decency to speak to me directly, clearly, unambiguously and personally in a language or other medium which they know I will understand and not miss or misinterpret.

God is capable of speaking to us - we know that. God sometimes sets up events in response to what we ask. But communication is extremely important. He gave us Language right from the beginning. He formed the Earth using the Logos: the primary unit of language. By our words we will be justified and by our words we will be condemned. Language is core. Certainly God hears and listens to us. We know God wants us to do His will on Earth, as it is in Heaven. Can He seriously leave it up to us to WWJD guess what His will is at each juncture in our lives, despite being fully capable and wanting to fellowship with us - so much so that He would sacrifice His own Son to do so? How, then, can we hear Him? Contrasts are drawn in the Bible between our God and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood — idols that cannot see or hear or talk. A major difference between Christianity and other faiths or religions is that Christians purportedly have a personal relationship with God. Relationship depends solely on communication. If a human child were to say "I talk to my dad every day. I know someone who has heard of someone else who, on only one occasion, heard my father speak" that would be tragic. For a child to have a personal relationship with his father, there must be ongoing, continuous dialog and interaction. To the question, "How recently did you pray?" the answer should come back "less than a day ago". To the question, "How recently did you hear God's voice?" we should not say "well, my friend said he heard God once, about 8 years ago" - it should be "He talks with me and walks with me along life's narrow way - because He lives." I don't want to be Left Behind on that journey.

Consider Abram: he was asked to go on a journey to a far away country and sacrifice his son and demonstrated great faith, but before all that, right at the start, God spoke to him. Similarly God spoke to Moses before He asked him to face Pharaoh and demand the impossible.

Look at Job: he spends ages not knowing why he is suffering, but confident that God is still in control. At the end, he is happy when God comes and provides no answers but asks him a pile of questions. Not because of *what* God said, but because the fact that God *did* say stuff to him meant he hadn't lost his connection with God and God was still keen to speak to him. So how does one hear God these days? Whatever happened to the "Come now, let us reason together" of Isaiah 1? Even Ezekiel 20 which starts with God refusing to be questioned ends with His plan to converse, face to face.

How can this idyll be realised?

On a second note, I notice you thought Elijah left this world on a flaming chariot. Perhaps you got this idea from the film, The Passion Of The Christ where Gibson portrayed the Pharisees as being so mistaken. My Bible says this on the subject:
And it came to pass, when the LORD would take
up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that
Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
2 Kings 2:1
And it came to pass, as they still went on,
and talked, that, behold, there appeared a
chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted
them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a
whirlwind into heaven.
2 Kings 2:11
I very much doubt the real Pharisees would have made such an error and am disappointed to see the rumour spreading.

Anonymous said...

Don't you notice when people write to you?

Tquan Moore said...

To Anonymous: Yes, I notice when people write. Though I do not always respond. My posts are primarily to give myself a way to be transparent with my thoughts and what I believe God is giving me. I allow for comments so that others may do the same. I took a look at the passage in 2 Kings about Elijah. Thanks for the correction. There was a flaming Chariot spreading present, but 2 Kings does say that he was taken up in a whirlwind. So, I am glad to see that I pass your test and am not a real Pharisee:) I am just one human among many who is doing his best to follow his Lord.

As to your question, "How can this idyll be realised?" I am not sure I understand.

Also, do you have a name? Anonymous postings are way more difficult to respond to.