Summary: In what ways are people laughing at God? (Many sources but seed thoughts from Reinhold Niebuhr's essay on Humour and Faith)
A new preacher moved into town and went out one Saturday to visit some of the members. All went well until he came to one house. It was obvious that someone was home, but no one came to the door even after he knocked several times. Finally, he took out his business card, wrote on the back “Revelation 3:20” and stuck it in the door.
The next day, his business card was found in the offering plate. Below his message was this notation, “Genesis 3:10”- Opening the bible this was found. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20, NIV. “He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”” Genesis 3:10, NIV.
Everyone enjoys a good laugh. A person who does not like to laugh is indeed in the pit of depression. Laughter is understood across humanity. Laughter is universal because it knows no international boundaries. Laughter knows no ethnic or racial restrictions. From the burning desert of the Sahara to the frigid wastes of Siberia, from the Eskimo in the North to the tribes of Africa to the South, people all over the world experience and enjoy laughter. I enjoy it. I often say that if I didn’t have laughter, a sense of humor, I would have gone crazy a long time ago.
Many theories of humor today. Trying to understand this mystery that is unique to humans.
Psalm 2:4- The one enthroned in heaven laughs. One of few instances in the bible in which laughter is attributed to God. God is not frequently thought of as possessing a sense of humor. There are critics of our faith who say that we have a lack of a sense of humor, and they can point to the fact that there is little laughter in the Bible. Why is it that the Bible, even though filled with joy and songs of praise, is lacking in the expression of laughter? There are many sayings of Jesus which show an ironic sense of humor, but on the whole one must agree with the critics who do not find much humor or laughter in the Bible.
Bible is against crude joking- Ephesians 5:4- Obscene and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. Much humor today is based on this, heaven forbid.
Let’s focus on laughing with vs. laughing at. Some comics make themselves the object of laughter. They talk about funny things involving themselves, they make fun of themselves. This way the laughter they get from the audience is laughing with them. They beat others to the punch line by being the first to laugh at themselves. Thomas Szasz- “When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him.” We do not like to have others laugh at us. Being laughed at by others can be a miserable experience. One time had a nice pair of boots, the trendy designer kind of boots that everyone else wanted, but had to have one boot ground down because one leg longer than the other. Showed them to a couple of kids at school and they laughed at me. I said but these are the nice kind of boots but they said they could not be because of having one ground down so they laughed at me- the future president of our class...
Now here in Psalm 2:4 I do not believe that God is laughing at these people from a teasing, bullying or humiliating kind of way- laugh of disgust- kind of a snorting laugh- laugh of pity
“The Lord ridicules them”- Other translations say, “The Lord scoffs at them, the Lord holds them in derision”; Good News Translation says, “From his throne in heaven the Lord laughs and mocks their feeble plans” God’s laughter here is not the gentle, good natured chuckle of a friend. It is the laugh of someone who knows the whole story; someone who knows that in the end, everyone will be held to account and justice will prevail.
What is the Lord laughing at? Vs. 3- People are saying “Let’s tear off their chains and throw their ropes off of us.” What chains and ropes are being talked about? The instructions of God on how to live. We want to live our way and how dare anyone tell us any different! Many are laughing at God today.
Thesis: In what ways are people laughing at God?
1. “Go to church, we have to work or play on the weekend to get ready for Monday.” While there is nothing wrong with work or play, it can be dangerous when it drives our lives to the point of completely ignoring the need to assemble and worship. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25, NIV. Difficult nowadays, but need to meet together as much as we can.