And Enoch walked with God - three hundred years - There are several things worthy of our most particular notice in this account:
1. The name of this patriarch; Enoch, from חנך chanack, which signifies to instruct, to initiate, to dedicate. From his subsequent conduct we are authorized to believe he was early instructed in the things of God, initiated into the worship of his Maker, and dedicated to his service. By these means, under the influence of the Divine Spirit, which will ever attend pious parental instructions, his mind got that sacred bias which led him to act a part so distinguished through the course of a long life.
2. His religious conduct. He walked with God; יתהלך yithhallech, he set himself to walk, he was fixedly purposed and determined to live to God. Those who are acquainted with the original will at once see that it has this force. A verb in the conjugation called hithpael signifies a reciprocal act, that which a man does upon himself: here we may consider Enoch receiving a pious education, and the Divine influence through it; in consequence of which he determines to be a worker with God, and therefore takes up the resolution to walk with his Maker, that he might not receive the grace of God in vain.
3. The circumstances in which he was placed. He was a patriarch; the king, the priest, and the prophet of a numerous family, to whom he was to administer justice, among whom he was to perform all the rites and ceremonies of religion, and teach, both by precept and example, the way of truth and righteousness. Add to this, he was a married man, he had a numerous family of his own, independently of the collateral branches over which he was obliged, as patriarch, to preside; he walked three hundred years with God, and begat sons and daughters; therefore marriage is no hindrance even to the perfection of piety; much less inconsistent with it, as some have injudiciously taught.
4. The astonishing height of piety to which he had arrived; being cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, and having perfected holiness in the fear of God, we find not only his soul but his body purified, so that, without being obliged to visit the empire of death, he was capable of immediate translation to the paradise of God. There are few cases of this kind on record; but probably there might be more, many more, were the followers of God more faithful to the grace they receive.
5. Enoch attained this state of religious and spiritual excellence in a time when, comparatively speaking, there were few helps, and no written revelation. Here then we cannot but see and admire how mighty the grace of God is, and what wonders it works in the behalf of those who are faithful, who set themselves to walk with God. It is not the want of grace nor of the means of grace that is the cause of the decay of this primitive piety, but the want of faithfulness in those who have the light, and yet will not walk as children of the light.
6. If the grace of God could work such a mighty change in those primitive times, when life and immortality were not brought to light by the Gospel, what may we not expect in these times, in which the Son of God tabernacles among men, in which God gives the Holy Spirit to them who ask him, in which all things are possible to him who believes? No man can prove that Enoch had greater spiritual advantages than any of the other patriarchs, though it seems pretty evident that he made a better use of those that were common to all than any of the rest did; and it would be absurd to say that he had greater spiritual helps and advantages than Christians can now expect, for he lived under a dispensation much less perfect than that of the Law, and yet the law itself was only the shadow of the glorious substance of Gospel blessings and Gospel privileges.
7. It is said that Enoch not only walked with God, setting him always before his eyes, beginning, continuing, and ending every work to his glory, but also that he pleased God, and had the testimony that he did please God, Hebrews 11:5. Hence we learn that it was then possible to live so as not to offend God, consequently so as not to commit sin against him; and to have the continual evidence or testimony that all that a man did and purposed was pleasing in the sight of Him who searches the heart, and by whom devices are weighed: and if it was possible then, it is surely, through the same grace, possible now; for God, and Christ, and faith, are still the same.