Do You Laugh At The LORD…Or With Him?

Laughing out loud

Journey In Genesis—Selected Passages 3

Genesis 18:1-2: The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre
while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.
Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them
and bowed low to the ground.

Genesis 18:9-15: Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he said. 
10 Then one of them said,
“I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.
11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old,
and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.
12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought,
“After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say,
‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’
14 Is anything too hard for the Lord?
I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

But this isn’t meant to throw Sarah under the bus–Abraham laughed first!

Genesis 17:15-19: “God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife,
you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.
16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her.
I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations;
kings of peoples will come from her.”

17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself,
“Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?
Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”
18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son,
and you will call him Isaac
” [Isaac means ‘he laughs’].

Laughing at God’s commands leads to sinning against the LORD:

  • Abraham’s laughter at God led to Abe giving God advice, a “better” solution!
  • Sarah’s laughter at God led her to lie—right to the LORD!

We might think we don’t laugh at God, but Abraham, the man of great faith, laughed even as he was facedown at God’s feet; Abe laughed AS he worshiped the LORD!

Here’s a great and humbling prayer: Father, show me the ways that I laugh at Your Word, Your commands, Your promises…

Other examples of laughter in the Bible:

Psalm 2:1-6:“Why do the nations conspire [rage] and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”

The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”

[Christ–not us–is King. God laughs at our attempts to defeat Him,
He laughs at our attempts to be independent of Him.]

Luke 8:52-55:52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her.
“Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”
53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.
54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!”
55 Her spirit returned, &at once she stood up.”

Luke 6:21-26:Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.
For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”

James 4:7-10:“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail.
Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Proverbs 31:25:“She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.”

Psalm 126: “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion
[or brought back the captives to Zion]
we were like those who dreamed [or those restored to health].
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord, [or Bring back our captives] like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”

Do you laugh with God…or at Him?

What are the commands of God that you laugh at?

  • Forgive & bless & pray for those who persecute you?
  • Rejoice in all things?
  • Repent of/turn from that sin you don’t think is sin?
  • Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ?
  • Sacrificially wash the feet of other Christians?
  • Go around the block and around the world
    to tell others about the Lord Jesus and His Gospel?

What are the promises of God that you laugh at?

Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good
of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.”

“But you don’t know what I’m going through!”

You’re right—I don’t. But may I humbly/gently say that Christ does.
He knows our temptations to

  • give up,
  • give in,
  • get out,
  • just get by,
  • or get away with.

Hebrews 2:17-18:“For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way,
in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God,
and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted,
he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Hebrews 4:14-16: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest
who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God,
let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—
yet he did not sin.
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace
to help us in our time of need.”

Do you laugh at this promise of God?

Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to u as well.”

“I’ve got practical problems; I need practical solutions, not theological.
I’m tired/exhausted. I need relief. I’ve been seeking Him…I’m not finding anything. He needs to pony up; I’ve got nothing left to give.”

My dear friends, we’ve all heard about—or experienced
looking for physical things to meet spiritual needs.

Either at the bottom of a bottle, the bottom of an extra value meal,
the end of a shopping spree, or the top of some mountain-goal—
we look back & realize
we had inner needs that we sought to meet with outer things.

We run our vehicle thru the carwash instead of putting gas in the tank.
God knows we do this, He knows the importance of certain practical needs,
but He says to seek Him first…

  • Growing up, I used to dig thru cereal boxes looking for the toy. First thing I did!
  • I also like digging thru Moose Tracks ice cream looking for the mini peanut butter cups—you can have the vanilla ice cream/caramel, but lemme find those cups!
  • How many of us as kids, when told to look for something, did so for 5 seconds b4 giving up? Technically we looked, but not really.

Please know this: my heart breaks for what you are going thru.
But let me gently say that the Lord Jesus doesn’t need to pony up; He donkeyed up:
He faced His suffering & rode into Jerusalem on a donkey
knowing that He was riding to the Cross, to His torture & crucifixion
to die in the place of sinners like you & me.

Oh seek Him…& keep seeking Him. Sign out of social media/Netflix
& sign into the Bible everyday, alone & with other Christians—
seek to stare at/rest in His mercy & compassion
that willingly endured such suffering,
that He’d die for sinners like us knowing every sinful thought we’ve had,
knowing every sinful thing we’ve done.

Do you laugh at this promise?

Philippians 4:6-7:“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

“But I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work.
I don’t feel His peace guarding my heart/mind in Christ Jesus.”

My dear friend, keep praying, keep pleading, keep thanking Him!
This promise isn’t a toy we pick up, push the “on” button,
& throw out when the toy doesn’t immediately come to life.

This is a lifestyle promise that’s lived out moment-by-moment
as we develop a lifestyle of daily relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ
based on repentance and faith.

After you pray, are you filling your mind & heart with His Word,
His Truth the Bible, with thoughts of Christ throughout each day?

Or are you filling your mind & heart with the addictive sugar of this world?

If not, if we just pray as a sporadic event & get back to our normal lives,
living just like everyone else,  it’s like eating the salad
but following it up with a Big Mac, fries & shake.

We’ll never get spiritually or physically healthy like that.

  • Like working out: there isn’t a one-time super workout that gets you in shape; in-shape, health, fitness, is a lifestyle over time. And you aren’t often aware of when it happens, getting in-shape. It’s a continual process.
  • But you can look back and see now that you are more fit than you were years ago.

Same with the peace of God. As we seek Him/know Him as a moment-by-moment lifestyle (not a weekly event), as we lean into His promises and keep leaning on them, He will bless us to look back and see how His peace has guarded our minds & hearts & grown in us over the years, like the colors of fall spread throughout the trees.

Oh loved ones, let’s confess to the Lord Jesus that we laugh at Him & His commands and His promises, even if we don’t mean to, even if we don’t realize it, we laugh.

Repent of laughing at Him, and laugh with Him—He is merciful and compassionate
to forgive us, if we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

  • He forgave Peter for betraying Him,
  • He forgave Thomas doubting Him,
  • He can forgive us laughing at Him.

Remember how Abraham & Sarah laughed at God’s promise?
There’s a beautiful conclusion to that in Genesis 21:1-6:

“Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said,
and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.
Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age,
at the very time God had promised him.
Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him,
as God commanded him.
5Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter,
and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”

The LORD turned sinful/faithless/mocking laughter
into holy/faithful/worshipful laughter—
only God can do such miracles!!!

Closing Challenge

Jesus reveals many emotions in the Gospels…but we have no record of Him laughing.
Not saying He didn’t laugh during His 33 year ministry,
but the Holy Spirit didnt choose to put it in the Gospels.

One pastor was asked why…he said he thinks it’s because Christ’s laughter
is too amazing for words—it will simply have to be experienced in heaven.
I like that.

I think the holy/pure/joyful laugh of the Lord Jesus Christ
is the electricity that destroys all circuit-breakers,
so bright & beautiful that no surge-protector can protect against it!

In our current bodies we simply couldn’t handle it. We’ll need our heavenly/sinless bodies–and the sinless environment of heaven, to truly experience His laughter,
when He looks us in the eye, laughs, and says,

“I did it, My child. I said I would…and I did it. Here you are!
Holy and blameless, without spot or wrinkle or any blemish (Ephesians 5:27).
Forever safe, forever sanctified, forever healed, forever whole.

Everything I promised…even those things you initially laughed at…
it’s all been fulfilled. I did it!

I really am the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2),
I really did finish the good work that I began in you (Philippians 1:6).
It’s all true, My child—all of it.

Every penstroke of My Word, every command and promise and teaching
that was the punchline of others’ jokes,
it’s all true.

Look around, see with your forever eyes of faith,
it’s all true, it’s all finished…in Me!

I said you would draw water from the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12)—
I said I would wash your robes clean in My blood
and bring you to the tree of life and its living waters (Revelation 22)…
now drink deeply, be forever quenched in Me.

I said I would be high & lifted up (Isaiah 52:13),
that you would worship the Father in Spirit & in Truth (John 4)—
isn’t it ridiculous, isn’t it laughable,
that you would worship anything else on earth but Me?

I said I would remember your sin no more, and I don’t remember them!
(Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34)

I said the lion would lie down with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6, 65:25)—
go ahead and pet him—he’s safe!

You were a dead Charlie Brown tree,
and I said I would transform you into an oak tree of righteousness,
planted by Me to display My splendor (Isaiah 61)!
Display, display, display forever My splendor!

I said I would bind up your broken heart,
I said I would wipe every tear from your eyes (Revelation 21:4),
I said I would take away your disgrace (Isaiah 25:8)—
wasn’t it worth it, My child?

Do you now see that I am worth it?

Every agonizing step you took carrying your cross
to follow Me Who carried your sins on My cross…
look at the joy in My face, hear My laughter—
I endured the cross for the joy set before Me (Hebrews 12:2),
the joy of honoring our Father & making Him known to sinners
and the joy of saving you!

I said you would reap a harvest of righteousness if you didn’t give up
even when you were weary in doing what is good (Galatians 6:9).
Reap away, My child—you planted with sweat and tears,
now harvest with laughter and joy (Psalm 126)!

I said I would turn your weeping into laughter (Psalm 30:5).
Now laugh, dear child, laugh with the joy of the redeemed.
Laugh in true holiness, laugh with Me, forever…
for you’re done laughing at Me.

Behold, I am the Alpha & the Omega—I am making all things new…even you!”

clouds (10.17.18)