ENOCH, A Transformed Dad
We have just celebrated All Saints Day on the Christian calendar. One saint that I find inspiring, and who I would like to know more about, is Enoch. He is mentioned ten times in scripture from Genesis to Jude, and is one of the heroes of the faith found in Hebrews 11. What I find intriguing is that his personal transformation seems to coincide with becoming a father. For after he had a son, “Enoch walked with God.”
Enoch in Genesis
“When Jared had lived 162 years he fathered Enoch.” (Genesis 5:18)
“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah.” (Genesis 5:21-22)
We don’t know what transpired in the heart and mind of Enoch when he had a son, but we do know that he became a changed man. I have surmised that perhaps having a little boy watching his every move motivated him. Maybe he saw how much influence he was having in the life of his son made him want to improve. Or maybe Enoch sought to give his son the father relationship that he did not have, but craved, with his aged father Jared. Or perhaps his heart was supernaturally stirred to love and devote himself to this precious little guy. We have no record of the influences or combination of factors which provided the motivation for him to change. However we do know that being a father to this little man inspired and galvanized Enoch to walk with God in a new and deeper way.
The change was so profound that Enoch did not die. “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)
“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.” (Hebrews 11:5)
I readily identify with Enoch’s desire to be a good father to his son. God gave us the gift of four sons. I don’t know all that transpired in my own heart, but I have loved these boys since they were born. I have reached the scriptures for insights on being a dad. After reading through scripture, the one passage that shaped my life as a parent was Deuteronomy 6:7 “teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” I sought to be faithful in teaching my sons the word of God and being with them as much as possible.
After decades applying this passage and other verses in the New Testament, I was speaking at a conference on Deuteronomy 6:7 as was my wont, and after the session was asked why I did not mention the two preceding verses. I looked them up and the message that I read in verses 5 and 6, was that before I could teach my sons, I needed to love God and His word myself. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-6)
God’s advice made so much sense. Of course! How could I expect my sons to love God and His word, if I did not. This led to a deep work in my life as I began to seek God and ask Him to help me love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. As God answered this prayer in unexpected ways, I then experienced the best and most difficult few years of my life and the life of my family. Looking back, I recognize that God answered my prayer and I experienced an Enoch-like transformation.
This journey is chronicled in my book Crisis to Christ. I love God now more than I ever have, and my family life has improved immeasurably. This is the beauty and wisdom of God’s design for the Christian home. As we, like Enoch, seek to disciple our children, we are discipled ourselves. As we lay our life down for our families, we are transformed into the image of Jesus who laid His life down for us.
I wish I knew what Enoch prayed when he became a father. Did he ask for wisdom as he discipled this little life? Was his heart impacted as he prayed for his boy every evening? Was he affected when he saw the effect of his words and the tone of his voice on the spirit of his child? Did Enoch cry out to God to help him be an honorable and loving father? Whatever he asked God for, God answered and the result was a transformed dad.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Enoch is also mentioned prophesying in Jude: “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones.” (Jude 14)
Most of us know that Methuselah was the oldest person in recorded history and lived for 969 years. Maybe his longevity can be attributed to his dad. For when Enoch set himself to follow God fully and be intentional about his own relationship with God, he became a much more honorable man. As Methusaleh saw the changes in his dad, maybe he did not find it difficult to honor his father, and thus be one of the first people to inherit the promise of the fifth commandment: “‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’” (Ephesians 6:2-4)
It is never too late to ask God to work in your heart. I was in my fifties when God worked deep in my own heart and my sons were all grown men. I simply asked God to help me love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, which is the first and great commandment. The next few years were hard but precious. We never stop growing in our relationship God.
A changed life begins in the heart. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NLT
I continue to pray for God to help me love Him. I els ask Him to turn my heart towards my family, based on Malachi 4:6: “He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.”
I know I am praying according to His will, and have found that He has answered, and will continue to answer these prayers.
A fellow lifelong learner,
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