I’ve been reading a lot about Enoch in the last few weeks. If any of you have ever read the account in the Bible, you know there’s not exactly a mighty gush of information to study up on.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church), have been given a bit more insight, which you too can read in the book of Moses beginning in Chapter 6.
When Enoch was still a young man he was called of God to begin preaching to the people of their wickedness. Sound familiar? Satan’s influence ran rampant throughout the land. There were only a few in Enoch’s family who still remembered the Lord and His commandments.
Enoch was frightened by the idea of preaching to the people. He couldn’t understand how he had found favor with the Lord, when he was still so young, the people hated him, and made fun of him because he was “slow of speech” (Moses 6:31). The Lord promised him none of these things would be a hindrance if he would simply have the faith, and do as he’d been told.
Enoch did just that. Can you imagine the surprise of his worst critics when this previously timid teenager suddenly spoke with remarkable eloquence? Can you picture how angry they must have been when he began calling them to repentance? Though his life was in constant danger, he continued to do what the Lord had commanded of him.
Those who chose to repent eventually formed the City of Enoch. These people were so obedient to the commandments, “Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion” (Moses 7:69). They were so righteous the Lord could be among them. In fact, they were so righteous the Lord eventually took the city up to His care and keeping.
Sounds a bit fantastic, doesn’t it? Do you really think it’s possible for an entire city to become so righteous the Lord can exist there? Can you picture being surrounded by utter wickedness, and still obeying the Lord’s commandments to the point you’re “taken up” to Him?
Keeping the commandments is a voluntary thing, but we need to remember what the consequences are when we break those commandments. Fortunately for us the Lord knows we are imperfect, and has put in place repentance to allow the chance to change our ways, and to start over. The latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, taught:
“If Enoch, Abraham, Moses, and the children of Israel, and all God’s people were saved by keeping the commandments of God, we, if saved at all, shall be saved upon the same principle.
“We have been chastened by the hand of God heretofore for not obeying His commands…we have treated lightly His commands, and departed from His ordinances, and the Lord has chastened us sore, and we have felt His arm and kissed the rod; let us be wise in time to come and ever remember that ‘to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams’ (1 Samuel 15:22)” (History of the Church, 5:65).
Let us be wise. Let us remember that choosing to immediately follow the commandments of the Lord is much better and easier than disobedience. When we choose the wrong way there is guilt, there is chastisement, there is a lot of work to repent. When we choose the right way there is strength, there is joy, and there are blessings too numerous to count.
Don’t forget: the City of Enoch was not built in a day. Enoch preached for many years before an entire city of people were brought back to the light. Many more years passed until the people could work together so well that they became the prime example of living a Zion life in an imperfect world.
Satan will come at you. The moment you decide to obey the commandments of the Lord He will plague you with hardships, but it does not have to mean you will fail. Pick yourself up, pray, and start again.
Is keeping the commandments of the Lord important? Of course. Is it worth the effort? I think so.