Online Bible Commentary
Without Faith, It is Impossible to Please God
Hebrews 11:5 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. 6 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. 7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (NIV)
This chapter is sometimes referred to as the faith chapter. The writer records the stories of men down through the annals of history who were found to be faithful by God. Abel was the first to be found faithful and, now, comes the second, Enoch. They both were included in God’s “Hall of Faith”.
Enoch was the son of Jared, and the father of Methuselah. Jared was born 460 years after Adam. He was 162 years old when he fathered Enoch. When Enoch was 65 years old he fathered Methuselah. Enoch “walked with God” (Gen. 5:22) for 365 years. “Then he was no more, because God took him away” (Gen. 5:24). The phrase “walked with God” was only used to refer to Enoch and Noah, another of God’s faithful ones. Enoch and Elijah were the only two men who did not face death.
So Enoch “did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away” (v. 5a). “He was commended as one who pleased God” (v. 5b). The writer knows that Enoch pleased God because he was only one of two men that Scripture commended as walking with God. God is pleased when we walk with Him. To walk with God means that we are trusting God. It is a sign of faith. It is that which God values most in His children. Enoch had it, and because of it God spared him from death.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (v. 6a). We show our faith through obedience. Faith is trusting God. It is believing in the trustworthiness of God. We “must believe that he exists” (v. 6b). We must believe “that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (v. 6c). His word tells us that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. When we believe His word on this, and other promises, we are showing our trust, our faith, in God. Enoch trusted in God. He was the second to be named by God as a man of faith.
The third to be named to God’s “Hall of Faith” was Noah. Noah was the grandson of Methuselah, Enoch’s son. Methuselah fathered Lamech at 187 years of age, and Lamech fathered Noah at 182 years of age. Noah was 600 years old when God brought the great flood. This was 1,656 years after Adam was created. God had seen enough.
“The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God” (Gen. 6:5-9).
It had never rained before. Previously, water had only sprung up from underground springs (Gen. 2:6). God told Noah that He “would send rain” (Gen. 7:4). Noah thought “what’s rain?” He had never seen it before. But he trusted God for “things not yet seen” (v. 7a). It took great faith for Noah to stop his life and build an ark for an occurrence that he had never experienced. But Noah trusted God.
So, Noah “built an ark to save his family” (v. 7b): his wife; three sons; and three daughters-in-law. In all, only eight people survived the great flood. Those eight had great faith, and because of their faith they were saved. Noah, “by his faith” (v. 7b), “condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (v. 7c). He joined Abel and Enoch in God’s Hall of Faith.
Nothing pleases God more than for us to trust him, to have faith. When we walk with God, like Enoch and Noah, we are showing our faith in Him. When we walk with Him we are never getting ahead of Him or falling behind Him. We are right there with Him every day, always trusting that He will provide for our next step. We are not trying to manipulate Him by getting ahead of Him. We are always waiting for Him to provide. We are not falling behind Him, not sure if we should take that next step. In faith, we are always taking that next step to keep up with Him. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.