I moved to Nashville in September 3 years ago. I was so excited that I moved here in the fall because the trees here are AMAZING this time of year. When I first moved here, my best friend and I both had pretty unique work schedules which allowed us to spend lots for free time dreaming about what God might have in store for our futures. We didn't do this dreaming at a coffee shop or music venue, but rather we would dream while we walked. We would go to our favorite park and walk down one particular sidewalk that was lined with trees one each side with branches that met overhead providing an ambiance we couldn't resist. We felt a million miles away from all the worries of our days, and as we walked we had the most incredible honest conversations. We were honest with ourselves, each other and most importantly our heavenly Father. It was during these walks that my dream of traveling and speaking and writing to encourage others in their walks with Jesus began to take shape. And so when I came across the passages we are going to look at today, each one touched a special place in my heart taking me back to a time that I went on walks with God.
Let's jump in at Genesis chapter 5 is a chapter that most of skim over as we are reading through Genesis because at first all we see is who is the father of whom and how long each man lived, but as we near the end of the chapter we meet one special man, Enoch.
“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methusalah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more because God took him away.” (Genesis 5:21-24, NIV)
Can you believe that? He left his house one day to go on a walk with God and he never came home! NEVER! Enoch was walking with God, and God just took Enoch home with Him. Isn't that so amazing? What do you think they were talking about? Do you think God said, “Hey this walk has been great…why don't we finish this conversation at my house?” I just love to think of the honest conversations they must have had. How encouraged must Enoch have been to hear the truth from God Himself! As we read the passage again we realize that this wasn't Enoch's first walk with God. It says Enoch walked with God for 300 years! As I think of my inconsistency, I am challenged by Enoch's faithfulness to continue to walk with God day after day, year after year for 300 years! That is so encouraging. I long to be so intimate with Jesus that one day as I'm spending time with Him, He just takes me home to finish the conversation at His house. Isn't that a sweet thought! I love my life here on earth, but my soul LONGS to sit at Jesus feet!
As we continue strolling thru the pages of Scripture we come across another man who walked with God in the very next chapter. Let's set the scene with a few verses from this passage:
The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth–men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air–for I am grieved that I have made them.' But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
This is the account of Noah.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.
Genesis 6:5-9, NIV
Does this introduction of Noah seem a little abrupt and out of place? It might, but I think the stark contrast from the previous verses really highlights the righteousness of Noah. After we read about how God is so grieved that He is going to wipe mankind from the face of the earth, the next thing we learn is that there is one blameless man. And as I was reading this chapter immediately after reading chapter 5, I could help but notice one important trait that linked Enoch and Noah. Did you pick up on it? They both WALKED with God. I have to believe that these walks with God shaped Noah into the blameless, righteous man that he was. Noah didn't have a small group, or Bible study or even a church to go to. All he had were His walks with God. But these walks with God were intimate enough that he came away from them living a blameless life in the midst of a world whose hearts were evil all the time. Reading each of these stories makes me contemplate my own “walk” with the Lord. I've spent time over the past couple of weeks reflecting on the difference and similarities between these men walking with God and what we see as “walking with God” to be in 2009.
As I've let these thoughts roll through my mind and talked about them with a couple different Bible studies I've taught in the past week, I've challenged myself and my friends to take a new look at “walking with God.” I feel like in my life I often put “walk with God” on my to do list next to “go to the gym.” But I started thinking about how this mindset is in opposition to the mindset I desire. I thought about other people I enjoy spending time with, even going on a walk with. I thought about my best friend and our first days in Nashville, and I thought about my husband. We cherish the time that we have together on walks with no cell phones or interruptions. I thought about what my attitude and desire is to go on these walks because I long to spend time with these special people in my life. I love to catch up with them and find out about what is going on in their lives. I love hearing about what God is up to in their lives and just listen to their joys and pains. I also love sharing my heart with them openly and honestly. I know that the time Carl and I spend walking together deepens our intimacy and honesty with each other. As I thought about this special time I treasure with my husband, I had to reevaluate my attitude toward the time I spend with my Savior. Rather that approaching my time in the Word and with the Lord as something to cross of my to do list, I can approach it as a time in grow deeper with the One I love. I've challenged myself to let my guard down with the Lord, to be as vulnerable and honest as I can. I've also intentionally spent time listening the heart of God and not just unloading my burdens on Him. It has been a sweet time of refocusing my heart. I have to take the time to reevaluate every so often because it is so easy to slip into my to do list mentality or to just step away from our uninterrupted time altogether. Today I encourage to you take time to reflect on the attitude of your heart. Are you in the mindset that you feel guilty if you miss a day with your Savior, do you put Him on your to do list? Or have you stepped away from your time with the Lord altogether? Wherever you are, today, take some time to just enjoy Jesus. Don't have an agenda, but just enjoy Him, and see where He leads you on your walk.