While doing mission work in New Brunswick, we missed being with our extended family – the closest member was 1,000 miles away. But once a year my parents would come for a visit, or we would drive for days to visit them. During these times my dad would often take me out for breakfast to check up on me, and we took many walks together as a family. I cherished those times because of what we discussed, but more importantly it was a joy simply to be together. It is like that in our relationship with God: we walk with Him.
Great men and women in the Bible are held up as examples of people who did exactly that. The scriptures imply that we, too, are to walk with God. But what does this mean? We obviously can’t physically walk with Him today, like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. It is more the manner in which we live our lives for God. Let’s consider a few examples of people who did this well.
Perhaps the most famous was Enoch who appears in Genesis 5:18-24, seven generations removed from Adam. Soon it would be time for the great flood, so we can safely assume the world was already sinking into corruption in Enoch’s time. By contrast, “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (v24). The Bible implies that Enoch had a strong relationship with God which took great determination while surrounded by sin, and which lasted a lifetime – some 365 years! The Hebrew writer points out that Enoch was a man of faith and that God was pleased with him (Heb.11:5-6). He believed, that God would reward him for seeking Him, and the result was that God “took him up” into heaven without suffering death. From this great patriarch we learn that walking with God involves more than just a relationship; it also involves faith, determination, and a life that pleases Him – no matter what everyone else is doing.
Enoch’s great grandson, Noah, did the same. “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Gen.6:9). The world had become worse, and judgment was coming. But this man was different; Noah “found favour in the eyes of the Lord” (6:8). For him, walking with God meant refusing to participate in the sins all around him. When God told him about the coming flood, he was quick to begin building the ark, careful to follow God’s specifications. He was determined to do it well (“reverently”) for the life of his family would soon depend on it. He stuck with God through horrific events. What about us? Don’t we become discouraged when things get hard, and our trials seem to last too long? Noah teaches us to stand up, to hang onto God in faith, and to look for the good things that God will supply. We don’t let the world overcome us. Didn’t Jesus say He had overcome the world? (John 16:33)
Walking with God demands patience. Abram was told, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless” (Gen.17:1-2). It had been 24 years since God announced He would bless this man with descendants, but there weren’t any yet. He waited patiently for the child that God had promised and a son arrived the following year. Patience and faith go hand-in-hand. Faith allows us to trust that God will come through with what He has promised, even if it seems to be taking longer than we expect. Have you prayed for help, but nothing seems to come? Just wait; answers will arrive in due time. Abram had to learn this, and he was blessed with a multitude of descendants. We walk with God when we trust.
What should the world see in someone who walks with God? David and Solomon give us a clue when God said, “And as for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you…then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever…” (1 Kings 9:4-5). These men had integrity of heart. People could trust them, depend on their words, and admire their dedication to God. What do people see in us? Let us make it our goal to live a life of integrity and uprightness. This is especially important right now in our society where immoral and untrustworthy behaviour festers, like a pandemic of sin. God wants His people to be known as dependable and trustworthy – just like He is.
Unfortunately, for some people, upright lives lead to arrogance. We do well to remember that when God sent Micah to both Israel and Judah, it was to confront their guilt and to remind them, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) We don’t walk with God as equals. We are his created beings, saved by His grace, and we must proceed in life with humility. In much the same way, Paul urged God’s people to: “…walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph.4:1b-3). Our walk with God moves us to be kind and gentle with fellow Christians, working hard to be peaceful and unified.
It is amazing that the God of the entire universe wants us to walk with Him. What a joy to be able to do this. Great people of the Bible show us how. Like them, walk with Him every day.