Walking: More than Exercise for the Disciple of Jesus
I can’t remember a time when there was more foot traffic through my neighborhood and the adjacent walkways. It began with the first shutdown when the pandemic struck.
People, quarantined at home and wanting a change of scenery, some fresh air, and exercise, started walking. Some walked a couple times a week. Some, daily. Others got out a few times a day.
I joined the parade.
It was a choice we could make when our choices were limited (or being made for us). It was both freeing and stress-relieving.
Walking has become a healthy pastime in a health crisis.
We venture out, from under our roofs and behind our walls and locked doors, into the light of day—making us more visible and active. I like it! For where there is activity, there is life. And opportunity to connect within community.
I have seen the faces of more neighbors in the past few months than I have seen in the many years I’ve lived here, as I nod from a distance. Because most passersby remain guarded— hoods up and ears plugged, they keep their head down and eyes averted. But we walk on.
Walking in the Bible is not only a way to get from one location to another, but it’s also a succinct and powerful metaphor.
The grand narrative depicts lots of different ways to walk (in rebellion, in righteousness, pridefully, or obediently—to name a few). But the most glorious is when one walks with God.
In the beginning, the Creator walked with His created beings in Eden’s Garden—as Father and firstborn. In fellowship, His children were to worship, work, and walk with God. But they walked away and chose to take a path of their own fatal choosing.
But along came another. One most remarkable.
Enoch walked faithfully with God;
then he was no more, because God took him away
In a mere 55 words, and four short verses, we read an intriguing account. That of Enoch, a man who walked with God (Gen 5:21-24).
I want to walk like that.
The text simply says, “Then he was no more.” It does not state that he died, as all the others mentioned in the genealogical list recorded in Genesis 5. It simply says “He was no more.”
Because to walk with God is to be in His presence. And in His presence is life everlasting—because He is Life. So, to walk with Life is to live. Really live. Even as our physical bodies are dying. And though there is death all around us.
In The Pentateuch as Narrative, John H. Sailhamer writes,
“Enoch is an example of one who found life amid the curse of death. In Enoch the author is able to show that the pronouncement of death is not the last word that need be said about a person’s life. One can find life if one walks with God. For the author, then, a door is left open for a return to the Tree of Life in the Garden. Enoch found that door in his walking with God and in so doing has become a paradigm for all who seek to find life.”
The reward which God graced Enoch prefigures those who, walking in Christ when He returns, will also rise to His glorious side. It is the walk of the Groom and His Bride—gliding harmoniously into their happily ever after.
I hope to learn more of what it means to walk with God. Here at the beginning of the year, there is already much to learn from the beginning. The opening chapters of the Bible provide several contrasting accounts to instruct our walk.
But the thing about walking is that it’s a verb. It’s an action. It’s not just something you read about . . . or learn about. But something you actually do.
The first thing to notice, in comparing Adam and Eve with Enoch, is the key word with. Adam and Eve hid from God. Not Enoch. He remained with Him.
I want to walk through 2021 like that, don’t you?
(For more from Debbra, visit debbrastephens.com.)