Learning to Walk With God, Part I

In this age of increased crime, infidelity, and disaster, many people are bombarded with trials and hardships. In the face of these challenges of life some feel that they are alone and need help in addressing their different tests, fears, guilt, sorrows, griefs, disappointments, and cares. Unfortunately, in most cases they know not what to do. Many desire to be true to God and to their high and holy calling, but fall short of victory because they fail to learn how to walk with God.

Enoch Walked With God

Thus, in this day of great peril, Christians lack the experience that Enoch had anciently. Of him it is recorded: “And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him.” Genesis 5:24.

The time has come for Christians who are preparing for translation in these last days to take the time to study and appreciate the life of Enoch. The Word of God reveals that this servant of the Most High walked with God for 365 years. Yes, this mere human being like ourselves remained faithful and true to his high and holy calling for nearly four centuries. Yet we as professed Christians today struggle to remain upright during our short lifetimes (usually less than one century). Surely, Enoch knew something that we need to know; he knew exactly how to walk with God.

Communion With God

“In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly maintained his communion with God. The greater and more pressing his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers. He continued to exclude himself at certain periods from all society. After remaining for a time among the people, laboring to benefit them by instruction and example, he would withdraw, to spend a season in solitude, hungering and thirsting for that divine knowledge which God alone can impart.

“Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. His face was radiant with a holy light, even the light that shineth in the face of Jesus. As he came forth from these divine communings, even the ungodly beheld with awe the impress of heaven upon his countenance.

“His faith waxed stronger, his love became more ardent, with the lapse of centuries. To him prayer was as the breath of the soul. He lived in the atmosphere of heaven.” Gospel Workers, 52.

You Can Choose

The busy rounds of life’s daily activities did not deter Enoch from keeping in tune with God. Yet today, so many are quick to make excuses for neglecting to think of, talk to, or even trust our loving Father. If it is not because they have too much to do and they just cannot find the time, it is because they see themselves too unworthy due to their sins. One excuse always seems to follow another. But these individuals need to realize that their failure to abide in the Lord’s presence and trust in Him as they should are the main reasons they sometimes find themselves failing, worrying, and unstable.

Therefore, the longer they continue to listen or respond to the enemy’s distractions (which are geared to keep them from the safety of abiding in God’s holy presence and doing His divine will), the longer it will take before they can get back to the straight and narrow path that leads to life eternal. Unfortunately, these persons often continue to tread on this dangerous ground until it is too late.

Our lives, however, do not have to remain in such peril. If we would only behold the Lord in His beauty and continually abide in His lovely presence, we would then seek more of His grace to obey His will. Then our service and relationship with God would greatly improve, and the grip of sin and Satan on our lives would be broken. The Spirit of Prophecy sheds light on how this relationship was attained by Enoch:

“Enoch continued to grow more heavenly while communing with God. His face was radiant with a holy light which would remain upon his countenance while instructing those who would hear his words of wisdom. His heavenly and dignified appearance struck the people with awe. The Lord loved Enoch because he steadfastly followed Him and abhorred iniquity and earnestly sought heavenly knowledge, that he might do His will perfectly. He yearned to unite himself still more closely to God, whom he feared, reverenced, and adored. God would not permit Enoch to die as other men, but sent His angels to take him to heaven without seeing death. In the presence of the righteous and the wicked, Enoch was removed from them. Those who loved him thought that God might have left him in some of his places of retirement, but after seeking him diligently, and being unable to find him, reported that he was not, for God took him.” The Story of Redemption, 59.

Like Enoch, we too can walk with God, if we will follow his example.

Impact of Fear

“True reverence for God is inspired by a sense of His infinite greatness and a realization of His presence. With this sense of the Unseen, every heart should be deeply impressed.” Prophets and Kings, 48.

What we keep in our mind’s eye and whom we constantly commune with affects our actions. If we go to a place filled with dangers and we believe we are alone, the chance of our running out of that place because of fear is quite great due to our thoughts. For example, if you go to visit a friend and there is an aggressive dog, such as a pit bull, in the yard, you will most likely find yourself hastening out of the yard or picking up a stick or stone to protect yourself. Most likely you will do everything necessary to ensure that nothing bad hap­pens to you. This is man’s normal reaction when he faces such danger alone. But, on the other hand, if someone else is with you, you will most probably pretend to be much braver than you really are. This is human nature.

Sometimes we think that fear is our worst enemy. But, in reality, God sometimes uses fear to make sure that man does not always live on the platform of pride. Man needs support; and if he feels that he can make it all alone, he will do away with God. Therefore, fear, griefs, trials, and disappointments are permitted by God in order to save us from our­selves. He permits such, even though He does not really want them to exist. He wants us to real­ize that we need Him, and therefore sometimes He allows circumstances to arise whereby we are forced to seek some kind of support and help. But the help that God wants us to seek is His own. He does not want us to depend upon ourselves or oth­ers who cannot do much for us; neither does He want us to depend upon physical props, drugs, or weapons as our source of protection or comfort. Yet God’s children have not yet learned to believe that God is truly there for them and wants to always be with them and bless them.

It is important for us as God’s people today to believe with all our hearts that we are not alone when we constantly commune with and trust in God. If this concept can be deeply imbedded within us, we will be con­querors on this earth. Nothing that comes in our way will be able to defeat us, not even the so-called problems and difficulties of life, much less the enemies of truth. Nothing will defeat us because nothing can withstand or overthrow a child of prayer and faith.

“A man whose heart is stayed upon God is just the same in the hour of his most afflicting trials and most discouraging surroundings as when he was in prosperity, when the light and favor of God seemed to be upon him. His words, his motives, his actions, may be misrepresented and falsified, but he does not mind it, because he has greater interests at stake. Like Moses, he endures as ‘seeing Him who is invisible’ (Hebrews 11:27); looking ‘not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen’ (11 Corinthians 4:18).” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 32.

If we keep the Lord in our daily lives, talk often with Him, and keep a sense of His holy presence ever before us, nothing will cause us to lose our hold on the truth and eternal life. Then it can be said of our personal Christian experience and relationship with God: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee [is] mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.

Now, and in future articles, we will consider a few historical records of individuals who, like faithful Enoch, learned the value of walking with God through constant prayer and believing that they were not alone. This lesson the adults have to learn before it is too late, and it is their responsibility to pass it on to the younger ones. Parents and teachers can achieve much good by inspiring the minds of the children and young people with these examples of the importance of constantly praying and trusting in God. All must learn to rest in the assurance that the Lord is willing and able to be with us and help us under any and all circumstances. This is the outlook or mindset of all true champions involved in the Christian warfare.

Elijah Knew He Was Not Alone

Many incidents and experiences recorded in God’s Word show that holy men of God understood the concept of constantly praying, trusting, and keeping a sense of God’s presence ever before them. Take for example the prophet Elijah. During his experience on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal, he manifested the greatest amount of confidence that he was not alone. While the priests of Baal were jumping around, shouting, screaming, and clamoring for their gods to bring down fire upon their altar of sacrifice, Elijah stood a distance away and watched them and even mocked them, telling them to shout a little louder because their gods may be sleeping.

Elijah would not have done that if he did not believe he would do better when his turn came. In other words, you do not take the chance of challenging anyone unless you are sure that you will not face the very same embarrassment when your chance to act arrives. Since Elijah was in constant contact with God, he believed God was with him. Thus he fearlessly acted the way he did.

Elijah was a friend of God; he knew God. He was absolutely certain that when he called on God for help amidst all of backslidden Israel, he would not be disappointed. So when his turn came, Elijah calmly looked up to heaven and called upon God to send fire to light up his sacrifice. Immediately, fire came down from heaven. Not only did it burn up the sacrifice, but it also burned up the stones of the altar and drank up all the water that was in the trough around it. Elijah had the confidence that even though he did not see God with his physical eyes, yet he was not alone.

Total Dependence

This prophet of God, like many other servants of the Most High before and after him, placed his total dependence upon God. By the time this major contest with the false prophets of Baal arrived, Elijah, like Enoch of old, had the sweet experience of walking with God. This he acquired on a day-to-day basis and in the very same way that Enoch obtained his experience.

“Enoch ‘walked with God;’ but how did he gain this sweet intimacy? It was by having thoughts of God continually before him. As he went out and as he came in, his meditations were upon the goodness, the perfection, and the loveliness of the divine character. And as he was thus engaged, he became changed into the glorious image of his Lord; for it is by beholding that we become changed.” The Signs of the Times, August 18, 1887.

“To him [Enoch] prayer was as the breath of the soul. He lived in the atmosphere of heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 330.

Not All Were Consistent

We learn, however, that not all God’s servants were as consistent in their walk with their Maker as they should have been. Not all were as steadfast in this regard as was Enoch. Hence, all did not qualify to escape death. History reveals that this same Elijah, after he had performed such a magnificent feat on Mount Carmel, heard that Queen Jezebel was coming after him, and he quickly lost his hold on God. Note what happened:

“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do [to me], and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. And when he saw [that], he [Elijah] arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which [belongeth] to Ju­dah, and left his servant there.” 1 Kings 19:1–3.

In other words, Elijah ran for his life. This same man who shortly before believed that he was not alone against the thousands of people surrounding him on Mount Carmel, is now seen running from danger. In the face of Jezebel’s threat, Elijah lost sight of the fact that he had a divine Companion, a sure Guide and Shepherd. Even this prophet of God forgot to maintain his communion and trust in his Maker, and the result was fear and flight. Such an unholy reaction, of course, can only bring shame and disgrace to God’s cause.

After Elijah stopped fleeing, the Lord came to him, “And he [Elijah] said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I, [even] I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael [to be] king over Syria: and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint [to be] king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint [to be] prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, [that] him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left [Me] seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:14–18.

An Only Target

The Lord revealed to Elijah something that was comforting to him in his great fear. Contrary to his exalted spiritual experience on Mt. Carmel, Elijah was thinking that he was alone; he had let go of his hold on Infinite Strength. He depended upon himself and con­cluded that he was the only one in all of Israel who was serving God. But the Lord made it clear to Elijah that there were 7,000 who had not yet bowed their knees to Baal. Surely, this was comforting and reassuring to Elijah. His faith and confidence in God was again restored, and his spirit regained peace and assurance.

This happens to all of us at times. Sometimes we feel that we are the only ones that the devil is targeting; but we are not, even though the devil himself may make us believe so. When we cut back on our communion and trust in God, the more alone we think we are and the more discouraged we be­come. Then it is easier for us to fall under the control of the enemy. In order to escape this dilemma, we have to go right back to the source. We must not think or believe that we need to face the challenges of life by ourselves. We have to learn to eradicate that thought from our minds. God wants to abide with and in us at all times; hence, we must learn to pray more and believe in God’s love for us more. We can then truly focus on the thought, “We are not alone.” Like the Psalmist David, we too will be able to declare: “I will fear no evil: for Thou [art] with me.” Psalm 23:4.

Elisha and His Servant Secured

The lesson of faith or fear arising from whether or not we view ourselves secured by the mighty presence of God is a very important lesson to learn and understand. This is especially so as we approach the great and dreadful day of the Lord. As we have already seen, Elijah was a mighty man only when he believed that he was not alone—that is, when he believed the Lord was with him and he maintained constant communion and trust in God. But the moment he lost sight of God, he ran for his life.

When Elijah fulfilled his mission on earth, the Lord instructed him to anoint someone to take his place. This was Elisha. He had been Elijah’s servant over a period of time. When Elijah was translated to heaven without seeing death, Elisha was given Elijah’s mantle, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon Elisha and anointed him to be God’s prophet to minister unto the people in the place of Elijah.

Faith Tested

Elisha had his faith tested just as Elijah’s faith was tested. Elisha and his servant were staying in a city, and their enemies came and surrounded it. These enemies were many, and any possibility of escape was blocked off. The servant saw this and feared for his life. He went to Elisha to tell him about the great ordeal they were in:

“And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that [be] with us are more than they that [be] with them.” 11 Kings 6:15, 16.

The servant was fearful, but Elisha was not. This is because the prophet had learned to pray more and trust in God more. Elisha did not have to see with his physical eyes the things of which he spoke unto his servant. Over the years he came to believe in divine help from within the invisible realm. Thus Elisha believed he was not alone. Likewise, although we may not presently see with our physical eyes the Lord and divine beings near us, nevertheless, by faith we too should “see” what is happening in the invisible world and trust in the goodness and presence of the Lord and His holy angels. We too must believe God’s Word which says: “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7.

Elisha believed God’s promises with all his heart. Therefore, under such trying circumstances he was able to boldly and fearlessly express unto his servant, “Fear not: for they that [be] with us are more than they that [be] with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain [was] full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” 11 Kings 6:16, 17.

Lesson for Us

This is a lesson for us, and a very important one, too. Here were two men with two different outlooks. One believed in the power of prayer combined with faith in God, and the other believed he was alone. The difference between the two is quite evident. When Elisha faced this terrible ordeal, there was no fear, no feeling of defeat; instead there was confidence and boldness because he knew he was not alone. Thus he stood fearlessly in the face of danger. Like Enoch, Elisha walked with God.

“Enoch represents those who shall remain upon the earth and be translated to Heaven without seeing death. He represents that company that are to live amid the perils of the last days, and withstand all the corruption, vileness, sin, and iniquity, and yet be unsullied by it all. We can stand as did Enoch. There has been provision made for us. Help has been laid upon One that is mighty; and we all can take hold upon His mighty strength. Angels of God that excel in strength are sent to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. These angels, when they see that we are doing the very utmost on our part to be overcomers, will do their part, and their light will shine around about us, and sway back the influence of the evil angels that are around us, and will make a fortification around us as a wall of fire. Ample provisions have been made for us when we are burdened, and weary, and cast down, and in distress.” Review and Herald, April 19, 1870.

Eyes Opened

The Bible shows that the reaction of Elisha’s servant to the danger that beset him and his master was opposite to that of God’s prophet. The servant was fearful, scared, hopeless. He thought that this was the end. But the Lord blessed him. Elisha asked the Lord to open the spiritual eyes of his servant, and immediately the servant’s eyes were opened and he was allowed to look within the invisible realm—he saw that he and Elisha were surrounded by heavenly angels in chariots. Surely, Elisha would not have been able to ask God to answer such a prayer unless he, like Enoch, had a true experience with God.

Thus angels of God protected the Prophet Elisha and his servant. As a result of being shown the angelic protection surrounding them, Elisha’s servant became peaceful and calm. Though his faith should have grasped the vision initially, but did not, in God’s mercy and love, Elisha’s servant finally understood and believed what was happening in the spiritual world. This is important to know because we, too, are confronted and will continue to be faced with challenges again and again in our lives.

Whatever may be the circumstance, the attitudes and reactions of people (whether positive or negative) are usually based upon what they believe. Should tragedy befall us and we believe that we are or are not alone, we will react accordingly. It is imperative, therefore, that we, like Enoch, learn to walk with God. Not until we learn to commune more often with our Master, and trust in His love and power, can we rest assured that our experiences will always be positive and within God’s perfect will.

“Prayer and faith are closely allied, and they need to be studied together. In the prayer of faith there is a divine science; it is a science that everyone who would make his lifework a success must understand.” Education, 257.

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah 32:17.

[All emphasis added.]

To be continued . . .

Pastor Patrick Herbert is the senior pastor of the Tucker-Norcross Adventist Church and Director of the Gilead Institute of America, a medical missionary evangelistic training institution located in Norcross, Georgia. He holds a Doctorate in religion and speaks and writes on a wide range of religious and health topics. He may be contacted by e-mail at: gilead.net@usa.net.

Editorial – Our Great Need

We should know what we must do to be saved. We should not, my brethren and sisters, float along with the popular current. Our present work is to come out from the world and be separate. This is the only way we can walk with God, as did Enoch. Divine influences were constantly working with his human efforts. Like him, we are called upon to have a strong, living, working faith, and this is the only way we can be laborers together with God. We must meet the conditions laid down in the Word of God, or die in our sins. We must know what moral changes are essential to be made in our characters, through the grace of Christ, in order to be fitted for the mansions above. I tell you in the fear of God, we are in danger of living like the Jews,–destitute of the love of God, and ignorant of his power, while the blazing light of truth is shining all around us.

The present activity of Satan in working upon hearts, and upon churches and nations, should startle every student of prophecy. The end is near. Let our churches arise. Let the converting power of God be experienced in the hearts of the individual members, and then we shall see the deep movings of the Spirit of God. The forgiveness of sins is not the sole result of the death of Jesus. He made the infinite sacrifice, not only that sin might be removed, but that human nature might be restored, rebeautified, reconstructed from its ruins, and made fit for the presence of God.

We should show our faith by our works. A greater anxiety should be manifested to have a large measure of the Spirit of Christ; for in this will be the strength of the church. It is Satan who is striving to have God’s children draw apart. Love, O, how little love we have–love for God and for one another! The Word and Spirit of truth, dwelling in our hearts, will separate us from the world. The immutable principles of truth and love will bind heart to heart, and the strength of the union will be according to the measure of grace and truth enjoyed. Well would it be for us each to hold up the mirror, God’s royal law, and see in it the reflection of his own character. Let us be careful not to neglect the danger signals, and the warnings given in his Word. Unless heed is given to these warnings, and defects of character are overcome, these defects will overcome those who possess them, and they will fall into error, apostasy, and open sin. The mind that is not elevated to the highest standard, will in time lose its power to retain that which it had once gained. “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

God has selected a people in these last days, whom he has made the depositaries of his law; and this people will ever have disagreeable tasks to perform. “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.” It will require much diligence and a continual struggle to keep evil out of our churches. There must be rigid, impartial discipline exercised; for some who have a semblance of religion, will seek to undermine the faith of others, and will privily work to exalt themselves.

The Lord Jesus, on the Mount of Olives, plainly stated that “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” He speaks of a class who have fallen from a high state of spirituality. Let such utterances as these come home with solemn, searching power to our hearts. Pamphlet 157.