The Humor of God

Henry W. Coray

I hope I will not be charged with irreverence when I say I believe there is an element of humor residing in the Godhead. Three times in the Psalms we are told that God laughed.

God's humor was frequently expressed in a play on words. When Sarah laughed in her heart at God's promise of a son, the Lord instructed Abraham to name the child Isaac, which derives from the Hebrew word "to laugh." The Lord seems to be combining a pun with his promise, as though to show that he was laughing with the prospective parents.

All of which suggests that our heavenly Father is not only afflicted when his children are afflicted (Isaiah 63:9), but that he identifies with us in a blessed and personal way in our wholesome pleasures and delights. "He will joy over thee with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).

Actually, there is therapeutic value in clean humor. Christian people should not despise the lighter side of life. "A cheerful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22). The Hebrew itself is even stronger: "A cheerful heart causes good health."

Would we be physicians of value in a sick world? Then we would do well to ask our God to give us merry hearts and cheerful spirits so that we might be able to speak "a word in season to him who is weary" (Isaiah 50:4).

Reprinted from the Presbyterian Guardian, Volume 44, No 8, Aug./Sept. 1975. The OPC Committee for the Historian has made the archives of the Presbyterian Guardian available online!


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