Devotional: ‘When God Makes You Laugh’

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“A cheerful heart is good medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22) Though we all enjoy a clean joke or a humorous story, the best laughter we can experience is when God’s grace puts a smile on our face. Consider how God made Abram laugh.

“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you… Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah. And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.” Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” (Gen 17:4-6, 15-17 NLT)

By this time in Abram’s life, twenty-five years had passed since the LORD had first spoken to him. On more than one occasion, the LORD had promised to bless him with a son; yet throughout the years, he and Sarai remained childless. Apparently, Abram had all but given up.

Abram’s father was seventy when Abram was born and so perhaps God’s promise at first seemed feasible. But now that he was nearly 100 years old, surely this was impossible. To make matters even worse, Sarai had just celebrated her 90th birthday!

Yet with God, nothing is impossible. God reassured Abraham of this by changing both his and Sarai’s name. The name ‘Abram’ means {exalted father}. Quite a name for a man who doesn’t even have a child. But the name ‘Abraham’ means {the father of a multitude.} Not only was God going to give him a son, God was going to give him a great nation. Most interpret Sarai to mean {my princess}, perhaps signifying that she was Abraham’s personal princess. But now God was changing her name to Sarah which simply means {princess.} No longer would she be just a personal princess for one man.  Now she would be the princess of a mighty nation.

There is one more name that we should consider before we end today. It is the name ‘Isaac.’

“…Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant.” (Genesis 17:19)

What does the name ‘Isaac’ mean? It means – laughter. The Bible says that as God spoke of His goodness, Abraham laughed in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” By the name Isaac, the Lord never let Abraham forget his disbelief.

I’m sure that none of us would ever laugh at God in a mocking way. We love and honor Him too much to ever do something like that. Yet perhaps, many of us sometimes laugh in disbelief at some of His promises. “Surely God couldn’t do that” we might think, “and even if He could, He probably won’t.” Yet sometimes the Lord does something so good for us – we can’t help but laugh.

I pray that today, the Lord will put a great big smile on your face.

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Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Pslam 100

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