Category Archives: Monday Memo

Monday Memo – Enoch

I guess that of all Bible characters, Enoch is the most curious. We know little about him but what we do know is exciting and encouraging.

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah.  Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:21-24)

“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5)

These two verses tell us just about everything we know about this great man. However, there is plenty here to consider and contemplate.

Enoch was a real, mortal man.

Enoch lived during a period when mankind reached extraordinary ages. His father lived 962 years and his son, Methuselah, 969 years. “Young” Enoch lived on earth a paltry 365 years. While these ages are extreme they should not be so surprising to the Bible student. If God can create the world from nothing, he can sure create old men! But we note here that Enoch had a very human beginning in his father Jared. He had a wife and he fathered a son. Enoch was not an angel and possessed no superhuman abilities. He was no more divine that anyone else who lived in his day.

His humanity is important because we share the same design. Like Jared, Enoch and Methuselah we are all flesh and blood. We are born in the natural way through the joining of a man and woman. We struggle with physical and spiritual ailments just like they did. Yet we do not share in the same end. Despite his human frailties, Enoch did not taste death!

Enoch was pleasing to God

There is nothing better on a grave marker than “He pleased God.” Such was the epitaph of Enoch (Hebrews 11:5). I try to please my wife, my children, my neighbors and my church family. But the single most important act is to be found pleasing unto God. Nothing matters more. James is pretty clear, “…whoever chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4, TNIV) Enoch cast his lot with the Creator. As such, he is  the one bright spot between his ancestor Abel and the Great flood.

If Enoch could be pleasing to God during a time of deepening depravity (c.f. Genesis 6:5,6), we can be pleasing too. While we are busy making excuses about how busy we are and how demanding our jobs are, the world is spinning away. People are dying without Jesus and culture becomes more and more corrupt. What if the modern world had a few Enoch’s around?

Enoch was not

That phrase in Genesis is unexpected; it hits you square in the face with its implication. Enoch was not. Enoch stopped. Enoch ceased to exist here. All of the others in the chapter 5 genealogy end with the phrase, “and he died.” But not Enoch. Enoch was not. What does that mean? The text simply says that God took him. Enoch did not face death and all of its attendant pains. God was so enthralled with Enoch that he took him on home. Someone, not me, once remarked that Enoch and God walked together. One day, they were closer to heaven than earth and God said, “why don’t you come home with me?” And Enoch agreed.

Enoch was one of only two people in the Bible who did not see death. The other was Elijah (2 Kings 2:11). ((No, Melchizedek is not a third. The passage in Hebrews 7:3 does not mean that Melchizedek was eternal, but that’s another post.)) It is a stunning honor to  be counted worthy of avoiding the darkness of death. One day, Enoch was just gone.

Enoch walked with God

Here is the answer to all questions about Enoch. He walked with God (Genesis 5:24). It’s such a simple compliment. But what exactly does it mean? How does one walk with a spirit? God is pictured in Eden as walking in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9). God promised to walk among the Israelites (Leviticus 26:12). How does one do that?

We walk with God when we spend time talking with him. We must be in agreement with him and we must be willing to follow him where he leads us. If the Lord points to the south, we cannot walk to the north. Walking to the east or even the southeast will put more distance between us. We must walk precisely where he goes and where he leads.

That is the secret of Enoch’s life. He stayed always with God. He did not veer off but remained in step with his Creator. As such, he was abundantly rewarded.  What does God have in store for those who walk with him today? I leave you with the words of Isaiah:

For of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4 / 1 Corinthians 2:9)


Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Monday Memo: Righteous Abel

Abel is a pivotal character in Scripture. Ironically, little is revealed about the son of Adam and Eve but his life marks an important point in history. Abel is first mentioned in Genesis 4:2 as the second of two children born to the first couple. His name appears in only 13 verses in the Bible and 6 of those are in the initial account in chapter 4. Nevertheless his life offers some important aspects for our learning.

Abel Teaches Us That Righteousness Is Best

Jesus himself observed the righteousness of Abel and highlighted his goodness (Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51). The writer of Hebrews notes his excellent service to God.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4).

We don’t know precisely why Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and Cain’s rejected except that it was offered in faith which is a part of his righteousness. But we do know that thousands of years later his goodness was known by mankind and was used by Jesus and the inspired writers of the Bible to teach us how important righteousness is.

There are few things that we can do today that will have long lasting effects. Personal righteousness is one of them.

Abel Teaches Us That the Righteous Suffer

It is comforting to think that if we live righteously God will protect us from trouble and strife. He does not. Abel was murdered by his brother. His only act that contributed to his death was his faithful service to God. His righteousness got him killed. God did not shield righteous Abel from an angry, malice driven brother.

We suffer today at the hands of people who are unrighteous. We suffer from their freely made choices and decisions that cause harm and mayhem to others.

Abel suffered at the hands of his brother (Genesis 4:8). David suffered at the hands of King Saul (1 Samuel 13:1-11). Peter and John suffered at the hands of the Sanhedrin Council (Acts 5:40-42).

Of course the ultimate example is Jesus who suffered for unrighteous men (Romans 5:8) at the hands of unrighteous men (Acts 2:36).

The unrighteous have always persecuted the righteous and always will – at least in this life.

Abel Teaches Us That There is a Right Way to Approach God

An outside observer might conclude that worship is open to any interpretation but the conflict between Abel and Cain suggests otherwise. Abel’s offering was acceptable to God because it was given “by faith.” We conclude that Cain’s was rejected because it was not by faith (Hebrews 11:4). We learn that men who approach God “by faith” are accepted by him (Acts 26:18).

The Bible teaches that faith is central to Christian living. Paul says “the righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11 quoted from Habakkuk 2:4). He says we are justified by grace which must be received by faith (Romans 3:24-25). This justification by faith sets us apart from Mosaic laws which were fleshly, even mechanical in nature (Romans 3:28). Of course James complements Paul’s writings when he says we are not justified by “faith alone” but by works as well (James 2:24). Notice we say they complement and not contradict one another. Works are a part of the Christian life. But works under the law of Moses, which Paul is speaking of in Romans 3:28, do not save. Indeed nothing in  the Mosaic law produced salvation (Hebrews 9:13).

We are saved today through faith and through obedience to Jesus Christ (Romans 10:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17). Like Abel, there is a right way, and a wrong way, to approach God.

Abel is a great messenger of God even today. Let us learn from his example.

Monday Memo – Vashti

Queen Vashti is a profile in courage often overlooked in Scripture. She is a central player in the book of Esther and one of the most courageous people in the Bible. She is a model for women today and a strong guardian of modesty and morality.

Her story begins in Esther 1:10 when a great period of feasting and partying is coming to an end. The king has invited nobles from near and far to the capital city of Susa. For 6 months they have enjoyed his hospitality. Now, for a week, they have been drinking.

King Ahasuerus orders that his Queen, Vashti, be ordered to appear before him and his drunken friends “to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at” (Esther 1:11). Vashti would not. No matter the kings power and authority she would not prance around before the men to show off her beauty. In fact we see from this that Vashti possessed an inner beauty which was clearly put on display.

In Ancient days, the power of King was near absolute. For her rebellion she could easily have been killed (c.f. Esther 4:11). As a woman she had few rights. As one rebelling against the King, even less. Yet Vashti refused to put her body on display. As such we see a strong, courageous woman filled with honor, morality and modesty. For a complete contrast consider Salome ((This woman is unnamed in Mark but is identified in the writings of the uninspired historian Josephus)) who was more than willing to dance before her step-father Herod, who in a drunken state called her before his nobles.

Perhaps by the providence of God Vashti’s life is spared but she is removed from being Queen. This makes way for another woman of courage, Esther.

All can learn from Vashti, men included. It takes courage to be modest and moral especially in our culture. But we need courageous people in the kingdom today!

Your thoughts are always appreciated. Please leave your comments here, on the blog, below.

Monday Memo – Hezekiah

Here’s a guy that brings great courage to the pages of the Bible. We first meet this ancient king at the death of his corrupt father Ahaz (2 Kings 16:20). We see the details of his reign beginning in 2 Kings 18:1 and find that he was a young 25 years old when he took the throne.

He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done” (2 Kings 18:3) is the summation of his reign. This stands in sharp contrast to the summary of his father Ahaz’ reign when the Bible says of that king, “And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God, as his father David had done, but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son Continue reading Monday Memo – Hezekiah

Monday Memo – Jonathan

Here’s a courageous fellow. And he’s a man fully submissive to God. I think a quick study of this great young man is a good way to begin our week.

For Jonathan, Faithfulness was More Important Than His Career

According to 1 Samuel, Jonathan was the son of King Saul (1 Samuel 13:16). Now, don’t miss that. Jonathan was the Prince. He would be the next in line to follow after his father Saul as the King of Israel. His future was bright. All Jonathan would have to do is remain loyal to his father and one day he would expect to be over the entire nation of Israel. Usually, that’ s the way it worked. Later David’s son Solomon would be King and his son Rehoboam would be King after him. Jonathan was in a great position.

But Jonathan also knew that Saul had displeased God and that God was no longer with him. Instead of trying to defend his father and support him – hoping to keep him in the throne and enjoy the benefits of royalty – Jonathan allied himself with David. Why?

Jonathan allied himself with David because David was God’s man. Jonathan was willing to risk his own life (1 Samuel 20:30-34) for David because it was more important to him to be faithful than to advance his future.

For Jonathan, Courage was His Reputation

It takes courage to be a soldier. I am amazed when I think of some of the horrific missions our soldiers undertake. Jonathan was, first of all, a soldier. He fought with his father on the front lines and was a fierce defender of God’s people against the raging heathen armies. Jonathan finally lost his life in battle (1 Samuel 31:2).

Jonathan also showed courage against his own father, the King. Saul had come to hate David and wanted him dead. Jonathan was willing to speak up for the future King ( 1 Samuel 20:24-34). Remember, at this time there was nothing David could offer Jonathan. David had been forced to flee into the wilderness and live the life of a fugitive. Yet, Jonathan was courageous and did the right thing. He defended an innocent man against his enraged father.

What about Us?

We have our chance to be courageous every day. For us,  the world is Saul and David stands for righteousness. Like Jonathan, we must often risk something to be found faithful. We may risk friendships, relationships and even careers when we stand for truth.

Although the Bible never says so directly, Jonathan trusted in and depended upon God. Why else cast his lot with David at the risk of angering his unstable father?

We can be like Jonathan and trust God to provide. Courage is what the world needs and God’s people are in just the right place to give it.

What do you think about Jonathan?

Monday Memo – Joseph

“The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge.
because the Lord was with him.
And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.
(Genesis 39:23)

CNN told us Friday that Americans were turning to fortune tellers to help them get through the present economic hardships. That only proves what Tusser said,  that “a fool and his money are soon parted.” Happily, many others have chosen to seek their future in God.

Joseph was a young man who struggled with just about every problem that could be imagined. His life looked more like a modern day roller coaster than that of a man with a great future. Yet for every downturn in his life there was a bigger upturn! How and why?

The Genesis 39 account gives us the answer. Joseph was successful because of his relationship with God. Despite his world routinely falling apart, Joseph had discovered that by remaining faithful to God he would be blessed. In fact his blessings were so immense that they were even noticed by the pagan prison Warden.

Read it carefully — “whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed…” You and I can enjoy the same level of blessing when we have the same level of faith and dedication that Joseph displayed.

Will you focus this week on securing and strengthening your relationship with Jesus? Will you walk faithfully with him so that he can bless you? Try it. You may be surprised!

Monday Memo – You

Today has been given you by the Lord and he allows you to do with these 24 hours as you will. But keep in mind the admonishments from Scripture to make the best use of your time.

Paul encouraged the Colossians to make the most of their opportunities (Colossians 4:5) and of their time (Ephesians 5:16). Solomon reminded his readers to give their best to every thing they do (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Paul viewed every day as moving us closer to the time of our final salvation “…knowing time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now, salvation is nearer to us than when we believed” (Romans 13:11). In the very next verse, the apostle encourages us to emphasize our spiritual preparations when he writes, “The night is almost gone and the day is near. Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).

As we have mention in our previous articles, many have faced great challenges. Today, as the children return to school and summer comes to a practical end, let us great the new times with vigor and renewed commitment to our Lord.

Monday Memo – Joshua

There he stood – in charge – and scared to death. His model and mentor had just died and now he was left to pick up the pieces. He stood on the very edge of greatness and the precipice of failure. Had had been tapped to lead 2 million nomads into a land where they would settle into homes and cities and begin a located life of ease. Their new found homes would be theirs only so long as they were obedient to Jehovah and therein lay the problem. They had never been consistently faithful.

Joshua had followed Moses since he was a young man. We first met him in Exodus 17:9 as valiant military man who fought against Amalek. He is given the credit, at least in part for that victory (Exodus 17:13).

Next, Joshua ascends the mount of God (Sinai) with Moses. There Moses meets with Jehovah and receives the Law (Exodus 24:13).

Joshua was joined to Moses and served him dutifully (Exodus 32:11). He was offended for Moses when some men in the camp prophesied and sought to silence them (Numbers 11:28). And of course it was Joshua, appointed as one of 12 men to spy out the land of promise in Numbers 13:16.

Now, Moses is gone. Aaron and Miriam were gone. The three had been the very visible leadership of Israel. Now, all eyes are on Joshua to complete the 40 year journey from Egyptian bondage to the land of milk and honey.

Joshua was given a simple charge by God: “Be strong and be courageous…” (Joshua 1:6-9). Three times he is told to be be strong and courageous. The task ahead was difficult and a weaker man would fail.

God ensured that Joshua had what he needed for success. The Lord promised Joshua that he would be with him just as he had been with Moses (Joshua 1:5) and would fulfill his promises. The word of the Lord was true. Joshua led the people into Canaan with a mighty hand and settled his people in the promised land. As promised, God was with Joshua every step of the way.

Today, you stand as Joshua did, charged by God to accomplish great things in your own life. You may not lead 2 million people into a new land but you will lead your own family, your own office or business, your own neighborhood. Jesus promised to be with you always (Matthew 28:18-20) and help you accomplish every Godly task.

Therefore, as God said to Joshua, “Be strong and be courageous.” Pause now and ask God to help you through the trials and struggles of this week. He will be with you and you have nothing to fear!

Monday Memo – Moses

Great things were in store for Moses. His life had been a roller coaster always teetering between life and death. He began life fleeing from Egyptian executioners, found himself among royalty and then became a fleeing felon from the household of Pharaoh. Now, in Midian, he had the unexciting job of herding sheep for his father-in-law.

God spoke to Moses from the bush that didn’t burn. He gave him the most improbable and surprising command of all: go back to Egypt and free my people.

In Exodus 3, Moses offered every possible excuse to avoid returning to Egypt. He was afraid of Pharaoh and the fate that awaited him there. God would not take excuses then as he does not now. Instead he told Moses that he would be with him and would give him the tools he needed to accomplish his mission (Exodus 3:10 4:17). There comes a point where Moses’ hesitancy incurs God’s wrath. “The anger of the Lord burned against Moses” (Exodus 4:14). God simply will not take excuses. You know the rest of the story and you know the great a mighty success brought by God.

Is there some God-appointed mission in your life that you are delaying? Are you fearful of what the future may hold? God took no excuses from Moses and will take none from us. On the other hand, he will be with us and give us all the tools necessary to accomplish his will.

Will you rise up today and do what the Lord has asked?