Examples of Hungering and Thirsting for Righteousness: Enoch
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. [Matthew 5:6 ESV]
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. [Genesis 5:21-24 ESV]
Enoch walked with God. We know little about this man. He is mentioned in five places in Scripture. Three places give the genealogy of Adam (see Gen 5:18-24; 1 Chronicles 1:3; Luke 3:37). Joseph, the legal father of Jesus, was descended from Enoch. In Genesis he is described as one who “walked with God,” an adjective which describes no other person in the descendants from Adam to Noah. Enoch lived in a way which pleased God.
He walked with God. He did not hide from God like Adam and Eve in the garden after rebelling against a specific command. He did not argue with God, trying to justify his sin like Cain after killing his brother. He was not like everyone else who lived at that time. “That the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” [Genesis 6:5 ESV]. Although born in sin, carrying the condemnation faced by every person who has every lived descended from Adam, Enoch sought God.
Enoch had a relationship with God in spite of the internal bent to corruption which would drive every other person away from their Creator. Hindsight, and Scripture, tells us God was drawing Enoch to Himself. We can also say, from the implications of Scripture, God draws all people to Himself, but they ignored Him seeking their own satisfaction, building their own moral codes and placing their own unreasonable expectations others.
All people were closely related by birth. Because of man’s wickedness, the breakdown of everyone’s relationship with God was apparent. However, God drew Enoch to Himself and Enoch obeyed. Perhaps he fought with God, struggling in his mind and heart with knowing and trusting Him. We know Enoch had a intimate relationship with God. Walking with God is not a simple physical activity. Walking with God involves the whole person.
Enoch did not taste death. He was “not, for God took him.” Every other person mentioned died, for God specifically states of them, “and he died.” Every person died because of the sentence of death of Adam. Not Enoch. Hebrews gives us more about Enoch.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. [Hebrews 11:5-6 ESV]
Death is the universal sentence for rebelling against God. When God placed Adam in the garden He gave one prohibition on pain of death, “dying, you will die” if you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This prohibition was for Adam and everyone descended from Adam. When Adam sinned everyone sinned in him. Even Enoch sinned in Adam. But Enoch did not see death. He was commended by God for having faith, which pleases God. Nothing we do can please God. However, using faith and the tools He has given through the gift of faith pleases Him. Enoch pleased God, not because he worked and did stuff for God but because he used the gift God gave him for Him.
There is only one reason why a person would not taste death who had been sentenced to death. Another took his place and died for him. God’s justice is nor arbitrary but certain. One other person in Scripture did not taste death. Elijah was taken up (2 Kings 2:11) then appears with Jesus at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:3-4; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30). Elijah was a man of faith. Jesus who has died for us also died for him. That God decided Enoch and Elijah would not taste death does not mean God set aside the sentence of death for them. They were not perfect, but born in sin and rebellion. They pleased God because of what He gave them, not because of anything they did.
Enoch was a man who pursued righteousness. He loved God and hated sin. He submitted himself to God as His servant, using the tools God gave to live in a world which hated God. He willfully acted according to what he knew was truth. He pursued righteousness with his whole person. Jude sites an unnamed source when he gives the words of a prophecy of Enoch which shows his disdain for everything ungodly.
It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands 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.” [Jude 14-15 ESV]
Enoch hungered and thirsted for righteousness and was eternally filled.