Updated: Feb 4, 2021
The enemy is a liar.
We know that and yet, we are so easily led away by his tempts and taunts. I spent some time this past month studying two different Bible prophets, Enoch and Elijah. Enoch and Elijah got my attention because they are two people in all of Scripture who, we are told, didn't die. They lived their lives, walked with God, and then they were no more. They just went to be with him. God just took them. They were here and then they weren't here.
Elijah is someone we all know about. He did some crazy stuff most of us have read or been told about. Elijah spent some time with a poor widow and her son. He actually ended up raising the son from the dead one night. He then took on 450 prophets of Baal by calling down fire from heaven, and showing that there is only one true God deserving of our worship. Elijah raised up Elisha, his faithful follower who wouldn't settle for just one portion of Elijah's favor, but wanted a double portion. And finally, Elijah is known for finding God in the stillness, long after the rushing wind, the loud thunder and the chaos of the storm passed by.
Preachers preach about Elijah, he is the topic of conferences and men's retreats. We even name our kids after him. But Enoch, not so much. You may not even know him. There is actually very little written about Enoch in Scripture. Further study would teach you that Enoch was born, he had a son, was a preacher in a very corrupt generation and then he was no more. That's it. That's all we know and yet, Enoch was listed in the great hall of faith in Hebrews 11.
"By faith, Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:5-6)
Here's what got me as I studied these two men. Elijah has a story we know a lot about. He is praised and applauded for his work in the Kingdom, while Enoch doesn't. We have two lives, two beginnings, two stories (one that is well known and one that is not), and two endings. Two identical endings.
They both walked with God and they both left with God.
The temptation is to give more weight to the story we know more about. But the invitation is to see them both just as they are - equally successful in the Kingdom of God. An unknown story and a known story inside the Kingdom with the same exact outcome is important because it helps us see our job as followers is not to worry about how the details are or are not shared. Our job in the Kingdom is to walk with the King. His job is to do the rest.
In the Kingdom of God, your main concern is to walk with the King. You actually don’t have to worry for one second about what others are seeing or not seeing. You don’t have to prove your walk or even proclaim your story - you just get to walk with him. Interestingly enough, as you walk with him, you will find time to share the story God is writing.
The Bible was divinely inspired and the fact that Elijah was in it more than Enoch means nothing more than those are the stories God wanted to use.
It doesn’t mean God loved Elijah more
that God was more proud of Elijah
that Elijah did better than Enoch
It doesn’t mean the authors of these books were partial or played favorites
It doesn’t mean any of those things.
It just means - these are the stories God chose to use to make his name known at this particular time.
If I write a book and in it, I happen to tell 12 stories of Ella and only 6 of Addy, it doesn’t mean I am less proud of Addy, it just means - the stories that came to mind as I wrote were stories where God moved in and through Ella. It didn’t mean God wasn’t and isn’t moving in and through Addy - it just means those aren’t the stories I shared with you.
My girls will learn that I don’t write books to make them known - I write books to make God known, and because God already knows them, I will use their stories freely as he leads - with the intention of helping others see God and not see my girls. Essentially the stories aren’t about them - they are about God - they are his stories and he will use them as he sees fit.
Let me ask you this:
if a story is unknown does it mean it didn’t happen anymore than if a story is known?
For every one story, I tell you about what God has done, there are at least 10 I don’t tell you. That doesn’t make the 10 any less valuable (some of the things I don’t talk about are the ones I actually treasure most) because their value is not in whether you know them or not - their value is in the fact that he did them.
Enoch’s story is not amazing because you know it - it’s amazing because God wrote it. Enoch walked with God, he preached the Gospel in a wicked and corrupt generation, and then he was no more. God was so pleased with Enoch and his life that he took him - just took him - Enoch didn’t have to die - he just got to go. We can have faith that Enoch had an amazing life.
Elijah had an amazing life. He walked with God and then God took him in a chariot of fire. We know so many details of Elijah’s life that we don’t have to have faith to believe it we just have to read it.
The stories are meant to draw us to the power and presence of God and not impress us with Elijah and unimpressed us with Enoch. They aren’t stories meant to deem one more successful than the other. They are just stories. events. happenings.
They both walked with God………and God used their story as he saw fit.
Other people knowing your story is not what gives it significance. God writing your story is what makes it significant. You are significant because of him.
When we need recognition, approval, and celebration - we spend our time and energy trying to get it and when we get it we are full, but when we don’t, we are empty. When we live from his approval and his applause - we are free whether we receive it from them or not
Your life is so much more than what people know.
Read Hebrews 11:32-40 for me real quick, “ And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
There were so many others. Other's whom we don't know about. Other's we don't read about, we don't teach out. Other's that had great faith, did great things, and have a great place in the Kingdom. What if, you stopped worrying about how your story is or isn't being told and you just rested in the fact that we serve a God who writes really good stories? What if you just walked with the King and let him worry about the rest? What if you stopped comparing, keeping score, and all the other things that come with trying to control how the story goes, and you just walked with Jesus? What if you just trusted him to tell or not to tell a really good story?