In the centuries just after creation, people lived exceptionally long lives. Adam lived to be 930. Methuselah, the man who lived the longest, reached the age of 969! These incredible lifespans were made possible by pristine environment and freedom from disease.
Methuselah’s father lived a comparatively short lifespan, though. The Bible says that “all the days of Enoch were 365 years” (Gen. 5:23). Why was Enoch’s lifespan only about one third of the time lived by his father, Jared (962 years), and by his son, Methuselah (969 years)? Was Enoch murdered, like Abel?
No, “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Gen. 5:24). In the genealogy tracing the generations between Adam and Noah, Moses repeatedly says of the patriarchs: “And he died” (Gen. 5:5, 8, 11, etc.). This repetition emphasizes the curse of sin. But Enoch’s experience shows that God has power over death. Enoch bypassed it: “God took him.”
And why? “Enoch walked with God” (Gen. 5:22, 24). Walking with God is seeking his will instead of one’s own. Walking with God is choosing his path instead of the world’s. Walking with God is longing for his presence. Walking with God is trusting him, depending on him. The Bible says that “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” (Heb. 11:5-6).
People have a deep desire to fit in, to be like everyone else. Marketers constantly play on this weakness. So does the devil. If I’m just “one of the gang” at school or in the workplace, something is probably wrong. If I want to be taken, like Enoch, then I must walk a course that sometimes feels rather lonely.