Today’s Reading: Genesis 18:1-21:7
Our reading today opens with the promise of a son to Sarah and Abraham. Isaac is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abram and Sarai that they would have their own children and a multitude of descendants. Yesterday’s post talked about how people’s names were changed after a deep profound encounter with God. Later we will read how Isaac’s Son Jacob gets a name change. But today we read that Abraham and Sarah’s son is called Isaac.
Sarah laughed when she heard she was going to have a son after so many years of being childless:
Genesis 18:10 – 12 (NLT)
10 Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!”
Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. 11 Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. 12 So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?”
At the end of our reading today the promise of a son is fulfilled:
Genesis 21:1 – 7 (NLT)
1 The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. 2 She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. 3 And Abraham named their son Isaac. 4 Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded. 5 Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.
6 And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. 7 Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!”
In Hebrew, the name Isaac means “he laughs”. The name comes from the hilarious idea that Sarah at 100 years old would still be able to become pregnant and bare a child for Abraham. She laughed when she heard the promise and she laughed when Isaac was born. Even today we laugh when we think of this story.
If Laughter is a good thing, and I think we can all agree it is, then it is a gift from God.
James 1:17 (NIV 2010)
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Did you know that there are references to God laughing? Psalm 2:4; Psalm 37:13; Psalm 59:8
The Bible even says that there is a time for laughter:
Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NIV 2010)
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
Jesus even brings up laughter in the Beatitudes:
Luke 6:21b (NIV 2010)
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
If you know me well you know that I love a good laugh. Of course laughter and joking are a tool that could be used for good and for bad. Laughter at other’s expense should be avoided. Laughter or coarse joking is also not of God.
Ephesians 5:4 (NIV ©2010)
4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
However, today you and I can laugh with Sarah, God has fulfilled a promise, brought joy into the lives of two older people through the birth of Isaac and caused Sarah to laugh.