Avraham's Laugh and Ours

December 8, 2017

In Hebrew he is known as Avram, and later Avraham. In English, he's Abram, and later Abraham.

And in the Bible we see him as an old man laughing. Here is why:

15 God said to Avraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are not to call her Sarai [mockery]; her name is to be Sarah [princess]. 16 I will bless her; moreover, I will give you a son by her. Truly I will bless her: she will be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” 17 At this Avraham fell on his face and laughed — he thought to himself, “Will a child be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah give birth at ninety?”

You've got to sympathize with Avram here. He's got a point. But what kind of laugh is this that he is laughing?

Later in our narrative, his wife Sarah also laughs, and at the same thing. We read there of how ADONAI, Avraham's God, visits Avraham and Sarah. He makes his promise of them bearing a child very specific.  Look at what he says and how Sarah responds:

10 He said, "I will certainly return to you around this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son."Sarah heard him from the entrance of the tent, behind him.
11 Avraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years; Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 
12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, "I am old, and so is my lord; am I to have pleasure again?" 
13 ADONAI said to Avraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and ask, 'Am I really going to bear a child when I am so old?' 14 Is anything too hard for ADONAI? At the time set for it, at this season next year, I will return to you; and Sarah will have a son. 15 Sarah denied it, saying, “I didn’t either laugh,” because she was afraid. He said, “Not so — you did laugh.”" 
Sarah's laugh is a different kind of laugh. Hers is the laughter of incredulity. She is in effect saying. "You've gpt to be kidding!" This is why she denies having laughed--because it was not the laugh of faith. But Avraham's laugh is not like hers. His is the laugh of faith-filled delight and amazement in the face of what appears to be impossible. This is Avraham's laugh. And I can relate.
At this time in our lives, my wife and I are not quite as old as Avraham and Sarah. But we have a baby of our own on the way: the baby is our plan to move to New York City. Every time I talk about this I laugh. Why? Because it is so ridiculous!  It is so impossible!  We are quite broke and New York is the most expensive city in America! But like Avraham, we believe that God has spoken, and we laugh the laugh of delighted amazement! We don't know how God is going to pull this off, but something's happening! And we can only laugh with incredulous delight.
When it comes to the things of God, do you laugh?  And if you do. is it Sarah's laugh of "You've got to be kidding!" ot is it Abraham's laugh  of delighted I-don't-know-how-God's-going-to-do-this-but-wow?"
The difference is that Avraham's laugh is the laugh of faith, but Sarah's of unbelief.
What laugh are you laughing?

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