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Walking with God

Pamela Kirkpatrick. Price Seventh-day Adventist Church. 20 November 1999

Opening Hymn: #537 "He Leadeth Me"

Genesis 5:22-24

And Enoch walked with God after he begot Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Walking with God: what a concept. Almost nothing is written about Enoch in the Bible; it is all summed up with "and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him."

We are also preparing for God to come and take us, and in this preparation time we need to be walking with Him as Enoch walked. But how? What does it mean to walk with God?

Do we learn to walk with God in the same way that we learned to walk as babies? The way our children learned to walk? By trial and error, standing across the room from our Father and taking wobbly footsteps towards Him as he calls to us from the distance "Come to Daddy," and falling down repeatedly as we try to get it right?

The Bible says that God is able to keep us from falling. Consider Jude 24-25:

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.

If He is able to keep us from falling, then does He want and expect all this falling down and hurting ourselves to be part of our "growth" experience? After all, He does want us to become as little children.

Lets turn to Matthew 18:2-4. There we read

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And in Mark 10:15:

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

As I began to think of these things, the Holy Spirit impressed me with the understanding that there are some major differences between being a child in the natural world today and being a child spiritually. Those of you who are parents, let me ask you, what are your goals for your children--your natural goals? You want them to learn to take care of themselves; to stand on their own two feet, right? After all, you won't be there for them forever. They need to learn to take care of themselves. So from babyhood to adulthood we are continually learning how to take care of ourselves.

In contrast, God's goals for us are very different. He is our Eternal father; He is always available to us. Instead of wanting us to become increasingly independent, He want us to learn to be increasingly dependent on Him. He wants us to walk with Him, our hand in His. He doesn't want us taking off on our own two feet.

I believe that as human beings this is one of our hardest lessons. Have you ever taken a walk with a two year old? Maybe next to a busy street where the traffic makes it necessary to hold his hand? You point out to him the pretty gardens you are walking past; the beautiful flowers, the scampering squirrel, the pretty song bird; but he's not interested. You see, he's too busy trying to pry free from your hold. He can't stand holding your hand. He's a big boy now. He wants to walk free--on his own. Instead of clinging to our Father's hand, we have this tendency to take off on our own wobbly two feet. There are so many charming things that take our attention from Him. Sometimes we don't like the restrictions that holding His hand puts on our life. Sometimes some of those Bible principles cramp our style. Sometimes we let the cares of this world pull us away from Him, and instead of holding tighter to His hand, we let go. And inevitably we fall down and hurt ourselves and then we sink into discouragement and we look to God and we say "Father, what's this all about? You know I love you and I don't want to disappoint you. How could You let this happen to me?" And He looks at us sadly and says "Child, you let go of My hand. You took off on your own. I am able to keep you from falling. Keep your hand in Mine."

God's Word is full of promises of our Father's willingness to hold us. Hear Psalms 20:6:

Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.

Hear Isaiah 41:10-13:

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Hear Isaiah 42:5-6:

Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.

Yes, you can say with the psalmist, "I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved" (Ps. 16:8). Why did David say he would not be moved? Because the Lord was always before his face, at his right hand. This is beautifully presented in 1SM pg. 79:

We know not what is before us, and our only safety is in walking with Christ, our hand in His, our hearts filled with perfect trust. Has He not said, "Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me"? Let us keep close to the Saviour. Let us walk humbly with Him, filled with His meekness. Let self be hid with Him in God.

So now that we know the importance of walking with the Lord with our hand in His, what is the practical application of it? The answer is found by looking at how Jesus maintained His walk with the Father.

1. Simplicity. We need to find ways to simplify our life. In Matthew 8:20 Jesus said "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head."

I'm not saying sell your house and your bed and sleep in the park. But I am saying that many times the multiplicity of things in our lives get in the way of our walk with God. They take time and energy that we can't afford to spend on them. By keeping life simple, we will be able to better focus on spiritual things.

2. Bible Study and Meditation. Remember the story of Jesus when he was 12 years old?

And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. Luke 2:46-47

And Psalms 119:99 says

I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Thy testimonies are my meditation.

Listen to this from Sons and Daughters of God, p. 190:

There never was a time when it was so important that followers of Christ should study the Bible as now. Deceptive influences are upon all sides, and it is essential that you counsel with Jesus, your best friend. . . . David declares, "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." How many are betrayed into sin, because they have not, through prayerful study of the Word of God, realized the sinfulness of sin, and found out how they may steadfastly resist it. When temptation comes upon them, they seem to be off guard, and ignorant of the devices of the enemy. We are living in perilous times, and as we draw near the close of earth's history, there will be no safety for those who do not become familiar with the Word of God. . . . Everything that can be shaken, will be shaken. . . . The children of God have reached the most critical part of their pilgrimage; for the nets and pitfalls of the enemy are on every side. And yet with the guidance of the Lord, with that which is plainly revealed in His Word, we may walk securely and not stumble. . . . A voice from heaven is addressing us in its pages.

And this from Signs of the Times, Sept. 18, 1901:

Before we can enter the heavenly courts, we must be refined, purified, elevated, and ennobled. In order to preserve the purity which God requires, the truth must be brought into constant contact with mind and heart. God calls upon His people to walk with Him, as did Enoch. Study His Word, if you desire to have Christ abiding in you, the life-blood of the soul.

3. Prayer. Jesus spent long hours in prayer: Consider Luke 6:12: "And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." This is perhaps the most neglected of our Christian privileges. The Bible tells us in First Thessalonians 5:17 to "pray without ceasing." And in Romans 12:10 - 12 we read "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer." What an impact communion with heaven will have on our life!

Ellen White says

The reason why so many are left to themselves in places of temptation is that they do not set the Lord always before them. When we permit our communion with God to be broken, our defense is departed from us. Not all your good purposes and good intentions will enable you to withstand evil. You must be men and women of prayer. Your petitions must not be faint, occasional, and fitful, but earnest, persevering, and constant. It is not always necessary to bow upon your knees in order to pray. Cultivate the habit of talking with the Saviour when you are alone, when you are walking, and when you are busy with your daily labor. Let the heart be continually uplifted in silent petition for help, for light, for strength, for knowledge. Let every breath be a prayer. MH 510

And that

God requires us to prove our loyalty to Him by unquestioning obedience. In deciding upon any course we should not ask merely whether we can see harm to result from it, but whether it is contrary to the will of God. We must learn to distrust self and to rely wholly upon God for guidance and support, for a knowledge of His will, and for strength to perform it. We must be much in communion with God. Prayer in secret, prayer while the hands are engaged in labor, prayer while walking by the way, prayer in the night season, the heart's desires ever ascending to God--this is our only safety. In this manner Enoch walked with God. In this manner our Exemplar obtained strength to tread the thorny path from Nazareth to Calvary. TMK 252

4. Finally, to walk with God the way Enoch walked and the way Jesus walked requires an attitude of submission. At the time of Christ's greatest test when He was in deep agony, he was submissive to His Father. Lets look in Matthew 26:39:

And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

And can we hear the counsel of heaven given to us through James 4:7? "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." The Bible warns us in 1 Corinthians 10:12 "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."

Let's put our hands in His Hand and walk with Him; He is the only one that can keep us from falling. Let's renew our commitments to spend time in Bible study and prayer. And let's try to keep our thoughts directed always heavenward because that is where our Father is and that's where all the power is. He is reaching out to you just now; O won't you put your hand in His?

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Last Modified 23 March 2000

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