There are many great songs in Walt Disney’s movie, ‘Mary Poppins’. One is ‘I Love To Laugh’, which has old-time comedian and character-actor Ed Wynn floating up to the ceiling of his home whenever he laughs too much!
I wonder if Abraham saw that movie?! He laughs and laughs in Genesis 17. Most of us think that it’s only Sarah that derisively laughs when she gets word of a coming baby at very advanced ages for both mama and papa ( Genesis 18: 12–‘so Sarah laughed to herself…’)! No, not just Sarah. “…I will give you a son by her…Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred year old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?(17:17)'” As you can see, they both laughed.
Why? Laugh or cry with that kind of news! Certainly their laughter was tinged with unbelief, incredulity and shock. The promise of a nation of God’s people, through Abraham and Sarah and not any shortcuts, funny tricks or sleight-of-hand. God is very clear–the promise of a son would be directly through old Abraham and his not-so-spry wife Sarah. So, they laugh… and the son’s name will be Isaac, which means in Hebrew ‘he laughs’.
Laughter is built directly into the name of the promised offspring. I do think that there’s something else going on here. I believe their laughter contain elements of joy from all that this will mean for them. Think about what her sister will say?! Who’s always gloating over the fact that her children, all of them, have children of their own…but poor Abraham and Sarah! Now… what will she say?
Joy, at the coming fulfillment of the Lord’s promises, is part-and-parcel of this laughter. Joy that their prayers will finally be answered. We can laugh because we know the One who will always have the very last laugh of all! Laugh away…it’s good medicine!
Prayer: Lord, we do laugh at the joy of your answered prayers. Thank you. In Your Son’s name. Amen.