The Standard Bearer in Retrospect

The ,following article, written by Rev. C Hanko, is a reprint from Volume XXIV. It was published in the rubric “From Holy Writ.” Rev. C. Hanko was substituting at this time for Rev. G. Lubbers who was ill. The article is entitled “Walking With God.” 

Scripture says of Enoch that he walked with God. 

“And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three, hundred years, and begat sons and daughters . . . And Enoch walked with God and he was not; for God took him.” Gen. 5:22,24. That is by far the most unique biography that you can find anywhere in the annals of history or in the Scriptures. Whatever else Enoch may have done during the three hundred and sixty-five years of his life upon the earth, or whatever cherished memories he may have left behind, the outstanding feature of his life that governed them all was, that he walked with God. 

This is also Said of Noah as a reason why he alone found grace in the eyes of the Lord, to be spared with his family by the waters of the flood. “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations; Noah walked with God.” Gen. 6:9

Otherwise this expression is not very freely used in Scripture. We do often read of walking before the face of God, or of walking after God, or following after Him, or even of walking in God’s statutes and judgments. But the expression, “walking with God” is a unique description of the intimate fellowship and friendship between God and His covenant people. 

That is the meaning of the expression. It is evident, that this cannot possibly refer to a physical, outward walk with God. That would be impossible. Whatever physical association there may have been between God and Adam in Paradise was destroyed by the fall. God did establish a new relation of friendship between Himself and His people in Christ, but this is riot a physical contact. How can an earthly mortal, who is bound to time and place, walk about with the omnipresent, infinite and sovereign God, Who is a Spirit? Moreover, no one can actually see God alive. So that physical association is at once impossible. 

But it does refer to a spiritual relation between God and His saints, an inner association and communion through the Spirit. Walking, in this case, means going about, associating, living in fellowship and mutual friendship. It is the fruit of God’s grace in the hearts of His people whereby they know that He is their God and they are His people. They count it their highest good that they are privileged to fulfill their “part” in His covenant by walking with them. 

That was originally Adam’s blessedness in the state of righteousness. Gen. 3:8 states, “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” This is significant, for now God is walking alone. Adam and Eve are hiding from before His face. They dread His coming, because they have broken their relation of friendship with God by entering into a friendly alliance with the serpent. That covenant communion in which they walked together and spoke together in mutual friendship is destroyed. And as far as man is concerned, he is neither able nor willing to restore that relation. It is broken forever. But God Himself promises to restore His covenant fellowship with them in Christ, by a declaration of war, creating enmity between the prince of darkness and all his host on the one side, and God’s elect covenant people in Christ on the other. 

As a result, Enoch and Noah, the seed of the woman, walked with God. Later God assures His chosen Israel, “And I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.” Lev. 26:11-12. This promise is also given to the Israel of God in the New Dispensation, “For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them andwalk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people.” This same promise is finally realized in heaven, according to Rev. 3:4, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.” 

This walking with God implies a living faith, humble obedience, a devoted love, an implicit trust and constant prayer. 

Faith is the bond that unites us to Christ and to God. By that living bond of faith a relation of friendship is established between God and His restored image-bearer. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3

You can be sure that anyone who walks with God does not regard Him as an emergency measure, someone to be called in conveniently when we are no longer able to take care of ourselves. That man’s religion is not a conventional side-issue, but fills his whole life. God had first place in Enoch’s life. God was his God and his sovereign Lord, before Whom he humbly bowed to ask: Lord, what wilt Thou have me do?

How else can a mere earthly creature ever possibly walk with God? He must be deeply conscious of his own emptiness and insignificance. Compared with God he is but an insignificant speck of clay, less than nothing and vanity. For God is God, the almighty, omnipresent, sovereign God, in Whom we live and move and have our being. And we are His creation, His handiwork, existing each moment by His power that sustains us. The Most High God is worthy to be praised. For even as all things are of Him and through Him, so He has also prepared all things unto Himself, to show forth His praises. He has even called His people unto Himself, not that they should live unto themselves, but that they should live unto Him in worship, fear, and obedience. 

That service must be a willing service in love. Our relation to God is not that of a wage-earner. Nor may we regard it our duty for duty’s sake, since God demands love from the heart. No man can walk with God without a deep conviction of sin and guilt. Because of our sins we are unworthy and unfit to enter into the presence of Him Who is spotlessly holy. We deserve only to be banished from His presence forever. But God Himself has removed our guilty stain through the perfect sacrifice of His Son upon the cross. He takes us unto Himself, makes us like unto Him in the true knowledge, righteousness and holiness of Christ, Who is our complete salvation. In holy awe His saints worship Him as their God and Father, Who calls them out of darkness into His marvelous light. 

Such love manifests itself in implicit trust. Have you never noticed how confidently a child will walk next to his father, no matter how strange the way may be, how dark the night, or how many dangers may threaten? Asaph expresses exactly that in the seventy-third Psalm. When he had ventured a step alone without His God, his feet had well-nigh slipped. He was ready to question the wisdom of the Most High, and allow the doubt to take root whether God was actually good to Israel. He almost mistook the prosperity of the wicked as a token of God’s favor, and the adversity of the righteous as a sign that God had forsaken them. Until he went into the sanctuary, where he met his God, and soon his problem was dissolved. He learned to hold God’s hand, walked confidently at His side. In child-like trust he confessed: “Nevertheless, I am continually with thee; thou hast holden me by my right hand; thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” Ps. 73:23-24

Such confidence, Asaph teaches us, is possible only by abiding in the sanctuary in constant prayer. Walking together implies talking together, revealing the thoughts and secrets of the heart to one another. He who walks with God knows Him as his friend. He draws near to Him as to the overflowing fountain of life and blessedness. He delights in His presence, seeks His face, pours out his heart to Him, and makes all his needs known in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. He prays without ceasing, in devotion and fear, for from his heart rises the confession, 

Whom have I, Lord, in heaven but Thee, 

To Whom my thoughts aspire? 

And having Thee, on earth is nought 

That I can yet desire. 

But that life of fellowship with God requires a spiritual separation from the world of sin and evil. Friendship with God precludes enmity with the world. God says to Israel, “And if ye will not hearken unto me, but walk contrary to me, then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.” Lev. 26:27-28. If Israel walks away from the Lord to seek other gods or the pleasures of sin, God will walk in the opposite direction away from her. A breech will be established that only grows wider as Israel departs farther from the Lord. The Holy Spirit can have no fellowship with sin, so that He withdraws Himself in sore displeasure, causing us to experience His disapproval until we are brought back in repentance. Therefore Micah admonishes Israel, saying, “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8

Enoch walked with God in the midst of an evil generation. And so did Noah. It was the time before the flood, when a rapid degeneration was hastening the world toward judgment. Cain’s wicked city exalted itself against God and His church as a kingdom of antichrist. Wickedness abounded everywhere, persecution ran rampant. As almost a lone witness of his God Enoch testified, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude 15-16. Noah, likewise, was a preacher of righteousness, boldly defying and condemning the world. Every hammer blow was a witness that he believed in his God, Who is holy and righteous and a consuming fire against all the workers of iniquity. The fact that they were friends of God made them enemies of the world. Should they not hate those who hate their God? And though they were hated by the world, they had the testimony of God that they were pleasing to Him. Heb. 11:5-7. They walked with God as a friend with a friend. And God took Enoch unto Himself in heaven. While Noah was delivered from an evil world by the waters of the flood. For God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He takes them into His glory and clothes them with garments of righteousness in Christ, that they may enjoy His fellowship forever. God is faithful. His covenant never fails. Blessed is that people whose God is Jehovah.