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And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.” – Genesis 17:15-21
Whenever I play golf, I quote Psalm 2:4, “He who sits in the heavens laughs.” I say that because I’m not really a good golfer. In fact, I’m a pretty crummy golfer. One year I was committed to improving my game. But it was a lost cause. I even took lessons. Didn’t help very much. So my golf Bible verse is, He who sits in the heavens laughs. He laughs when he sees me playing golf!
Maybe you’ve thought as I did that it was Sarah who first laughed and who therefore triggered the naming of Isaac (his name means, he laughs). Funny thing (pun intended!). I had it wrong. Abraham laughs first. So did Abraham. Sarah will have her time later, and will be called on it. God’s word will be accomplished. What he says happens. From, “Let there be light,” to “You will have a son,” when God speaks, things happen.
That brings me full circle to the laughter of God as spoken of in Psalm 2.
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.” – Psalm 2:1-6
God will not be set aside as King of the Universe. Kingdoms may falter and fall, but God reigns. His word remains. And where is his word, there is the reality it produces. From light to miracle child. From judgment to forgiveness. From condemnation to salvation. From beginning to end.
God reigns. He has a plan. It includes Abraham, Sarah, even Ishmael (I won’t try to explain how that works!), and of course Isaac. But that’s not the end of the plan. Again, Psalm 2
7 I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession. – Psalm 2:7-8
The psalmist is speaking of Jesus, the One who has been enthroned in the heavens, far above all rule and authority. He gave his life for us, to forgive and redeem us. Therefore, the last laugh is the holy laughter of the redeemed. When we grasp the fullness of God’s grace, mercy, love, and faithfulness, ours will be a joyous laughter of praise to God. No derision. No substitute for tears. No unbearable grief. Just pure, true, joy. Maybe that’s not exactly laughter. But it’s close to it, and I look forward to that day!
Maybe a ray of sunshine or some other kind gift will bring a smile to your face today. Or perhaps you’ll have an occasion to laugh. If so, let that remind you of the Final, Eternal, and Great Joy that will be ours on the Great Last Day of the Lord.