It is common to hear that God has no favorites, that He is no respecter of persons. That is true; however, He does have intimates! The good news is that anyone, anywhere, anytime can be intimate with Jehovah, the Lord God. From a look at the lives of five men, consensus can be drawn regarding some of the behaviors which lead to an intimate relationship with the great Creator, whose effect extends beyond what man can see with the most powerful telescope, and also reaches to the infinitesimal, smaller than any electron microscope can detect. Yet He loves man, his ultimate creation, even to allowing the death of His own dear Son in man’s behalf.
First is Adam, the one who walked with God before the entry of sin to separate them. Adam is the epitome of what damage sin can do to a child of God. Second is Enoch, only casually mentioned in the scriptures, but with what an amazing epitaph. Moses, with whom God talked face to face, is the third man. Next is Jeremiah, the young prophet, whose zeal for God’s word was like a “fire in his bones” (Jer. 20:9). Last, we will consider John, the beloved apostle.
In some locale west of the Garden of Eden, God formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life and man became a living soul. This was God’s masterpiece whom he called Adam. Toward the east God prepared a Garden. Quite possibly Adam watched as God prepared the garden. Perhaps they discussed its purpose and its beauty. God put Adam in the garden and gave him the exciting assignment to keep it maintained. The preparation of the Garden would have been the first act of God witnessed by a man. This act demonstrated to Adam that God loved him and carefully provided for him. Genesis records the continued story of Eve’s creation and implies that God’s presence with Adam and Eve was a common and pleasant occurrence.
Why did God do this? In answer to that question, Henry Morris states:
It is impossible to answer such a question apart from divine revelation. We ourselves are a part of this creation and are therefore in no position to judge our Creator. The fact that He created man is sufficient proof in itself that He had reason to do so. What God does must be right, and must be rational, by definition. “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus” (Romans 9:20)?
Rev. 4:11 says God created man for his pleasure. John states that God is love, and he loves all people (I Jn 4:16-19), and Paul assures his readers that God intends to demonstrate the exceeding riches of his grace on man’s behalf through the endless ages (Eph. 2:7). These statements indicate that God made man because he wanted fellowship; He wanted to love and to be loved. In order to have a mutual love relationship, man must have a choice of whether or not he wants to love God. Without choice, his love would be no more than mechanical. Therefore Adam was given the opportunity to fail. Adam’s failure brought about a great curse upon mankind, but it did not change God. His love and provision remained. But because he is a holy God who cannot look on sin, he had to manifest himself in a different way. He “covered their shame” by the clothing of animal skins and gave them instructions about work and child bearing; he even gave them the promise of a coming Messiah (Gen. 3). However, because of their own shame, Adam and Eve no longer enjoyed the fellowship of God in the way they once did. Centuries later, Isaiah expressed the result of sin on one’s fellowship with God when he said, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you . . .” (Is. 59:2).
Through the story of Adam and Eve, we can see what God views as a perfect relationship between himself and man – that state in which they dwelt before sin entered their hearts.
Even though Enoch was born with a sinful nature, his life shows a relationship with God which was not broken by sin. Adam received the prophesy of the first coming of the Messiah; Enoch, the next man who “walked with God,” prophesied the second coming of the Messiah: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds . . .” (Jude 14, 15). These words give insight into the pre-Flood godlessness of Enoch’s generation.
Enoch’s biography consists of four verses in Genesis (5:21-24) plus two references in the New Testament. One in Jude, which was referenced above, and one in Hebrews: 11:5: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him” (11:5). These scriptures tie him with Elijah as the only two men who have not seen physical death. His epitaph was written, although there was no tombstone upon which to write it! Gen. 5:24 records it like this, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” How remarkable! One might imagine that a modern epitaph might look like this:
The man’s name was Enoch
Giant of a prophet, thundered against godlessness,
Proclaimed a coming Lord
who would judge sin.
Taught his great-grandson, Noah, how to hear from God.
Oh, one other thing. His story is not yet over!
His story is not over because he still has a mission to do. He will be one of the two witnesses during the coming Tribulation Period who “are to be slain when they have ‘finished their testimony,’ and then resurrected (Revelation 11:7-12) and translated.”
Regarding Enoch’s walk with God, Henry Morris states:
Enoch’s “walk” with God was probably not literal in the sense in which Adam had walked with Him in the garden before the Fall. Enoch shared the fallen nature of all men and thus could not physically even “look upon God and live,” unless God chose to veil His glory in theophanic revelation, . . . by faith, in prayer and by obedience to His Word, Enoch maintained close fellowship and communion with God, a privilege equally possible to us today (Col. 2:6; Gal. 5:25; II Cor. 5:7).
Ex 33:7+…34:10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face
Was Moses a special friend of God because of a sin-free life? No, in fact he was a murderer (Ex. 2:12). Was it that he was a great intellectual and strategic leader? No, he had lead no one before his first special call from God (Ex. 3:4). Was it that he was a great orator? No, he was “slow of speech;” he had to have his brother go with him to speak for him (Ex. 4:10). Was he a go-getter, highly motivated, egotistic politician? No, he wanted God to send someone else (Ex. 4:13). Then what was he that God called him for such a high calling? He was born into a courageous family who trained him in the ways of God. He had opportunity to flourish among the rich and famous but chose rather to suffer with God’s people (Heb. 11:25). He became a wanderer and vagabond who was kind-hearted to the people in a foreign land, Midian (Ex. 2:19), where he dwelt for forty years. When God needed an educated man who knew the culture of the Egyptians, who was hardened to the rigors of wilderness living, who was trained and knowledgeable about the God of the Israelites, and who had a heart for the hurting, he called Moses. Notice that Moses must have been spending some time with God while he was in Midian. At least, when God called from the burning bush, Moses recognized His voice, and he trusted enough to obediently remove his shoes and “turn aside” to the bush (Ex. 3:2-6). He also had a reverent fear of God (Ex. 3:7).
In the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers the phrase “and the Lord spake unto Moses” occur 73 times in addition to other times when the Lord spoke to both Moses and Aaron. This indicates a lot of interaction between God and Moses. Moses must have had time with God high in his priorities!
God called Jeremiah to be His prophet while Jeremiah was still a young man. God’s words are recorded by Jeremiah in the first chapter of a book which bears his name. “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (1:4, 5). Jeremiah responded that he was too young and could not speak well. God tells Jeremiah not to say that, “Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak (v. 7). It was important that Jeremiah be sure of his calling because his mission was fraught with peril and discouragement.
He preached 40 years during the last five kings of Judah, warning the kingdom that their end was near if they did not repent and do right. His message was largely dismissed. Even after the fall of the nation and the captivity by Babylon, Jeremiah preached. His message had changed. He advised the people to quite resisting. Since they were going to be in captivity for 70 years, they should be submissive to their captors and humble themselves to the plan of God, but they would not. Jeremiah’s message was scorned as God had predicted. Jeremiah faced much ridicule and danger.
Of particular interest to the theme of this paper is an incident from Chapter 32. King Zedekiah imprisoned Jeremiah because he was prophesying against the city and against the king. While in prison, a relative of Jeremiah came and offered to sell him a piece of land. Jeremiah bought the land, sealed the title in a clay jar, and asked his cousin to put it away for many days. After Jeremiah completed the transaction he gave praise and honor to the great and mighty God. His elation midst the bleakness of his surroundings is evident in 32:17, 18 as he declares, “Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: . . .the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is his name, . . .”
After obedience and praise, Jeremiah expresses puzzlement about the order of the Lord, ”And thou hast said unto me, O Lord God, Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans (v. 25). God took no offence at Jeremiah’s question. “Why?” and “How?” do not necessarily express doubt or lack of faith. They are tools of conversation one might have with a friend. And the response in verse 26 was, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” Then God assures Jeremiah that although it is true that the city will be crushed for many years, the time will come when He will bring His people back, “and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:” (v. 37).
Jeremiah lived at a time when almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong. But notice that Jeremiah’s story is one of the intimate relationship he had with the Lord God. He did not doubt his call; he did not delay in his obedience to the most minute detail; he believed God, and he ignored the circumstances.
John, the writer of the Gospel of John, referred to himself five times as the disciple Jesus loved (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). But didn’t Jesus love all twelve of the disciples? Yes, yes, and yes again, even the one who would betray Him. John knew the great love of God even for sinners! He wrote the dearly loved verse in the Bible,
Jn 3:16, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son…” So what must John have had in mind when five times he wrote that he was the one whom Jesus loved? An argument could be made that John was the most intimate of Jesus’ disciples. He seemed always to be close by. Sometimes his motivation was not good; he appeared to be a social climber, but he was there! And time with Jesus has a way of chiseling off the rough spots. In the three years he spent with Jesus, he was loved but he was disciplined and rebuked as well. A writer from the In Touch website writes:
He needed Jesus’ counsel as much as any other of the Twelve, for he and James seem to have possessed unusually ardent temperaments. Jesus called them ‘sons of thunder,’ or, by a more literal rendering, ‘sons of tumult’ (Mark 3:17), writes Merrill C. Tenney. “Their bigotry and truculence were revealed in their readiness to rebuke the man casting out demons because he did not follow with them (Luke 9:49), and in their desire to call down fire from heaven on the Samaritan villages that would not receive Jesus (9:52-54). Both rashly asked their mother to petition Jesus that he would grant them the seats of primacy in his kingdom (Matt. 20:20-29). Jesus sharply rebuked these crudities of spirit, even though they may have been motivated by loyalty to him and his work.
There were several occasions when John was one of three disciples whom Jesus took on special missions. Luke gives account of three of these very private occasions. John was present when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter (5:37). He was a witness to the transfiguration of Jesus (9:2). And he was present in the garden during the suffering of Jesus (14:33). How John must have grieved to have failed Jesus by going to sleep here so near the end! Only a short time before, he and Peter had prepared the passover meal (Lk. 22:8), he had sat next to Jesus, and he had “lain on Jesus’ bosom” (Jn. 13:23) during that last meal. Perhaps his failure in the garden gave him the determination to not fail Jesus again; he stayed to the end. He was a witness of Jesus’ trial (Jn. 18:15) and he was there when Jesus died (Jn. 19:26). In the end John’s dedication was rewarded. Jesus would have died with one more burden – who would care for Mary – but for John.
There are other outstanding men who were known for their intimate relationship with the Lord Jehovah – Abraham, called a friend of God; David, said to be a man after God’s own heart; Elijah, a man who did not die. Why did this writer choose the five above? Because of the vast difference in their circumstances. Our goal is to see what they had in common. Those commonalities are the things we want to emulate if we want to be close to God.
 Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1999), 87.
 Ibid., 91.
 Ibid., 156.
 Ibid., 158.
 Ibid., 157.