Since 1966 when President Johnson signed the proclamation making the third Sunday in June Father’s Day, we have set aside this day to honor our earthly fathers. We could never say enough about the importance of mothers in our lives, but despite what our modern culture seems to think, we also cannot underestimate the influence and role of the godly father in a child’s life. As the devil continues his war on the biblical home and modern society tries to reshape it or tear it down altogether, it’s not only the role of the mother that is under attack; fatherhood is being assailed as well. For one reason or another, many fathers are AWOL from their children’s lives. Many young people today have no idea who their biological father even is, and where homes remain intact, we often see fathers depicted as either behind the times, know-nothing buffoons or overbearing, chauvinist, abusive jerks in popular culture, movies, and television shows.
This is a terrible thing because not only history, but more importantly the word of God places great emphasis and great honor upon the role of fathers—not only in the world and not only in the home, but in the kingdom of God, the church. God set Abraham apart and used him as He did because of the kind of father he was.
Genesis 18:19 “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”
How we need fathers like that, whom God can continue to use in the world and in the church today. I want to talk today about a father in the Old Testament to whom you may not have given a lot of thought. We’re pretty familiar with him as a man of God even though the Bible doesn’t say much about him. We’re certainly not very familiar with him as a father. But the Bible makes an important statement about him that you might’ve overlooked.
Genesis 5:21-24 “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”
When he was 65 years of age, Enoch begat Methuselah and the Bible says that from that time forward, Enoch walked with God. Most people are familiar with the name Methuselah as the oldest recorded man who ever lived. The Bible says he lived 969 years. He lived in the patriarchal age and the Bible indicates that during that time before the flood, lifespans were much longer. Perhaps this is due to the environment before the flood, or before the effects of sin in the world ravaged the human gene pool to the extent that it has in succeeding ages…we don’t really know. But the Bible lists a number of those patriarchs and tells us that they lived for what seems to us to be an unusually long time. I mean, can you imagine living for nearly a thousand years? That’s a lot of living!
But the truth is, we don’t know a lot about Methuselah other than this title for longevity that he holds. That’s really all the Bible says about him. We’re more familiar with his father, Enoch. The Bible doesn’t say a whole lot about him either, but what it does say speaks volumes. It says that he walked with God and at the end of a long life of fellowship with God, God spared him the pangs of death and translated him immediately into Glory. There’s something I want you to notice about Enoch and his son in our text. While the Bible doesn’t say very much about either man, it does indicate that Enoch was a man of great influence, as I believe was Methuselah.
Genesis 5:21-22 “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years…”
There was something about the birth of this little boy that brought about a great change in Enoch’s life. Children come along and change a lot of things—the way we spend our time, our money, the way we think and look at the world. I think many of us think more seriously about the future, evaluating the passing of time differently when we have a child than we did before. We worry about the world we’re bringing them into, providing for them, their safety and their health. But there was something much greater in Enoch’s life that changed when Methuselah came along, and Enoch became a father. The Bible says that Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah. That indicates that Enoch was not necessarily walking with God before. If he was, his communion with God was not what it was after Methuselah was born.
It would’ve been a difficult task to walk with God in that long a period of time. You may think that righteousness and a relationship with God somehow came easier to the people of Bible times, but that’s not so. Enoch was the seventh generation from the first man, Adam, and he lived in a time when God was speaking and directly interacting with certain ones. But the truth is, he lived in an incredibly evil age. The earth was growing increasingly wicked. You remember there was a division in the human family soon after the fall. Two of Adam’s children, Seth and Cain, represent two branches of the human family. The godly seed or line was that of Seth, and it represented a small portion of mankind. The family of Cain represented wickedness and rebellion against God. There is a literal statement that is quite symbolic in Genesis 4.
Genesis 4:16 “And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.”
As his family tree begins to grow, so does the influence of sin. Cain’s grandson, Lamech, rejected God’s plan for marriage and took two wives (Genesis 4:19). You know, when the home is corrupted, society is corrupted. We’re dealing with all kinds of evil and mischief in the world today because of the sorry, perverted state of the home. Wickedness increases in the world in every succeeding generation. By the time you get to Genesis 6, it seems that the sons of God (and I believe that has reference to the people of the godly lineage of Seth) were intermarrying with the daughters of men (which I believe refers to the wicked daughters of Cain). This resulted in an even more violent, godless generation than perhaps ever lived.
Genesis 6:5-6 “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”
Those are the kinds of times in which Enoch lived. Maybe as a young man, the evil influences of the world around him were pulling him away from God. But when he was 65 years old, he begat Methuselah and the Bible says that he began walking with God, and he walked with the Lord for the rest of his time on earth.
There is an interesting theory about the birth of Methuselah. A few commentators down through the years have suggested that Enoch prophetically named Methuselah. If you look up the meaning of the name in Hebrew, many will give you a definition such as man of the dart or man of the sword. Some say that you can interpret the parts of the name as death and in sending forth. Thayer defines the Greek transliteration of Methuselah as recorded in Luke’s genealogy as meaning when he dies, there shall be an emission (Luke 3:37). Whether right or wrong, some have taken the name to mean that when Methuselah died, something would come forth, and that the giving of his name was a prophecy. We do know that the year he died the flood came. The Bible tells us that. God’s judgment was poured out upon sinful man when Methuselah died.
There’s enough dispute about many of those details and I don’t know if that’s the meaning of his name or not. Jude does identify Enoch as a prophet who prophesied of judgment (Jude 14), and it’s certainly likely that Enoch knew something of the flood that was to come nearly a thousand years later by God’s revelation. That’s certainly not out of the question. Perhaps Methuselah’s birth in some way represented the promise of God to bring judgment to the sinful world Enoch was living in. Perhaps Methuselah’s famous long age is a testament to God’s patience since the year he died, the floodgates opened.
Regardless, when that little boy was born, something changed the heart of Enoch and the direction he was walking. He became a light in the darkness of this world, salt in the earth, a channel of righteousness. Though we know nothing from scripture about the contents of Methuselah’s life, it does seem as though he served as a conduit, a bridge of faith between his godly father, Enoch, and his own grandson, famous Noah, who the Bible also says walked with God (Genesis 6:9). Who, by faith, moved with fear, obeyed the voice of God, and built the ark that saved God’s people from the world’s watery destruction.
Is there not a lesson in that for us today? Should that not remind those of us who are fathers of the importance of our influence? How vital it is that we take our responsibility as Christian fathers seriously? When Enoch had a son, he started walking with God. Friend, if nothing else makes you stop and consider your soul and your eternal destiny, look down into the faces of those little children or that newborn boy or girl that perhaps you hold, that you helped bring into this world, and who will spend eternity in Heaven or in Hell. Let that sink in. Maybe that will make you stop and think, and if you’re not, maybe it will make you start walking with God today.
I remember a spring Sunday morning many years ago when I was in a particular congregation. A young family visited the service that day—a man and his wife who had been married a year or two, I suppose, and they had just had a baby girl. You could tell how much he loved and doted on that little baby, how proud he was to be a new father. He brought his new little family to worship that day because the birth of that little girl made him stop and evaluate the way he was living. He was living a wicked, immoral life. That great event in his life made him stop and make some commitments and some decisions. I baptized him soon after that and he died at a fairly young age several years later, but he remained faithful in the church throughout those years. I remember him telling me, more than once, that when his first child was born, he realized that he had a grave responsibility. That God had placed a little, eternity-bound girl in his arms, and he was responsible for her soul. He was going to raise her to know and serve the Lord.
That’s a good father. That’s a father like Methuselah had. A father who made up his mind to walk with God. If you think about it, Methuselah knew his father for 300 years! There was never a time in his life when he didn’t see his dad walking with God. Can your children say that about you? Are you even there for them? Are you actively living a Christian life before them? Do they see a man who takes his relationship with God and Christ seriously and who walks with Him daily?
So, what does it mean to walk with God? How do you walk with God? First, make sure you’re walking the same path as God.
Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
You can’t walk with someone unless you’re walking in the same place and in the same direction. When Methuselah was born, Enoch began walking with God. That means he changed direction and got on the right pathway. He got his life in sync with God. Some of you are on the wrong path in life. You’re in a different place than God and you’re certainly going in a different direction. If you’re not a Christian, you’re not walking with God. If you’ve never been baptized into Christ, you’re not walking with God.
Romans 6:3-4 “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
You may need to start life over today. You need to be born again by faith. You need to repent of your sins, confess Christ as the Son of God, be baptized for the remission of your sins, and become part of His Church. If you haven’t done that, you haven’t even started walking with God. If you’re not part of the Church, you’re not walking with God. The Church is Christ’s body, His bride. He is the Savior of it.
Ephesians 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”
If you’re not living by the commandments of Christ and His word, you’re not walking with God.
2 John 1:6 “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments…”
If you’re not living a clean, moral life, you’re not walking with God.
1 John 1:6 “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:”
Methuselah saw in his father a man who was walking on the same pathway as the God of Heaven all his life. Your children will follow in the path you lead them.
Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Are you teaching your children that Christ and the Church aren’t important? By example, are you teaching them that it’s okay to lie, cheat, drink, carouse, curse, swear, be unfaithful to their spouse? Do you know why alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, and immorality are so prevalent among our youth today? Because it’s the example in many of their parents. They don’t have parents who they see every day, consistently walking with God. Make sure that you’re walking with God by walking on the same path as God.
Make sure you’re walking at the same pace as God, too. It was a difficult day when Enoch came along. It was a lot like our own society. That may be hard to imagine, but it really was. We have much reason to believe that the antediluvians (those who lived before the flood) were actually an advanced people by this time. Several hundreds of years had passed since creation and they had made great advancements during that time. Genesis 4 tells us a great deal about that. They were building cities, learning trades, acquiring great skill, making great discoveries, learning how to harvest and harness the earth’s elements…Don’t get the idea that folks back then just sat up in some cave somewhere drawing stick figures on the wall. They were an advanced and increasingly sophisticated people. With such achievement and such progress, the fact is that most people don’t have much use in their hearts for God anymore. The world and its allurements choking out the word of God in our hearts, like Jesus said in one of His parables, is not a new thing. It doubtless took a great deal of discipline, focus, and consecration for Enoch to get in pace and walk with God.
Life gets so busy. It’s just a hustle and bustle today, until it’s very easy to get out of step with God and to let our homes get out of step with God. Listen, fathers: don’t just make time for your children; teach them to devote their time to God. Do it by example. You, dad, set the spiritual direction of your family. Don’t forget that. What you make most important in your home will be what is most important to your kids. I see so many things that take center stage in the home today:
-Work–many dads are hard workers. That’s a commendable thing. It’s important to work to provide. But no one on their deathbed regrets not spending as much time at the office or the factory. Show your kids that there are more important things than money and possessing things.
-Sports–also often at the center of the home today. We’re so obsessed with sports that we hardly have time as families to do anything else. Little league, high school football, basketball, softball, volleyball, and every other kind of ball. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, necessarily, but teaching your little boy to throw a ball is not the mark of a great dad. Teaching them to know Christ is what makes a great dad. Leading them in the paths of righteousness is what makes a great father in God’s eyes. You can teach him to kick a ball over the moon, but if you fail to teach him to know Jesus, you’ve failed.
Slow down. Put many of these trivial things in their rightful place and put your family’s focus on spiritual things. You’ll never regret that. If you’re not walking with God, step up. Get in pace with God and start walking with Him.
Finally, to walk with God, make sure you’re going to the same place as God. Make sure Heaven is the objective. Make sure you’re more concerned over getting your children into Glory than you are getting them into Harvard. Make sure they know the greatest goal they can ever attain is to please God, to be like Jesus, and spend eternity with Him. Enoch occupies a place that only one other person in history occupies—the prophet Elijah. He went to Glory without dying. The Bible simply says that he was translated and he was not. I don’t know how all of that happened; I just know one day, he disappeared. God simply took him, and the Bible says he was not. He took him to be with Him. We cannot expect such an exit from this world, for the Bible tells us everyone—that includes you and me—has an appointment:
Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
But Enoch walked with God, and he did so in such a special way that he escaped the pangs of death. We may not be able to expect to go like Enoch did, but we can expect to go where Enoch went if we do what Enoch did, and that is, walk with God. We can lead our children to the place where Enoch went.
Listen, dad. You may be sitting there stringing up your fishing pole today, getting ready to head to the lake. You may be getting ready to go out to the garage and clean up your golf clubs and thinking about that tee time in a little while. Do you want to be like Enoch? Do you want to raise a child like Methuselah? Have a grandchild like Noah? Salt and light in this dark world? Put all that stuff away today. Get up and get ready and take your kids to the House of God today. Do like he did when he looked down at that little boy, Methuselah, and realized the charge that God had laid upon him and decide to start walking with God today. Walk with Him all the days of your life and lead your children to Heaven.
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