Having a(nother) laugh

12 04 2012

I see it is nearly a year since I had my last laugh – a long time in blog land – so I thought it was about time for another.  This one I’m sharing with Abraham and Sarah, in Genesis.

Quick recap

Genesis is about origins and in the opening chapters we are introduced to the great themes that develop through the rest of the Bible – creation, rebellion, judgement, love, grace, mercy. Then in chapter 12, God makes a promise to Abram.  He will be the father of a great nation and have a name change to remind him – Abram –> Abraham, “father of many”.  This nation will be the means of blessing to the whole world.  The promise is repeated in chapters 15 and 17 and is formalised with a covenant ceremony and the mark of circumcision. (John Ortberg’s quip referring back to Genesis 9:17  – “Noah got a rainbow!”)

Major snag

Found this little guy on pentaxforums

Abraham is old and Sarah is post menopausal.  Not the best conditions for becoming a father of many.  They try to side step with the help of one of Sarah’s servants, Hagar, who has a child by Abraham. (It was acceptable cultural practice for a servant to bear a child for a barren wife and for the wife to adopt the child.) 

What’s so funny?

The promise is.  And both Abraham and Sarah laugh –

“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?’……

[Sarah] 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?'”

I wonder if God didn’t have a smile too – he says the promised son is to be named Isaac, which means “he laughs”!

But there’s more to the bundle than laughs.  There’s the bitterness and jealousy of childlessness; the interplay of faith and doubt (Abraham both bows down and laughs); hearing from God but manipulating circumstances to get the result in human time; grabbing the steering wheel instead of trusting the driver.

Some things don’t change.

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One response

24 08 2012
Faith is life-defining « moses supposes

[…] of it.  So it is not credulity, though at times it must have seemed like it (eg Abraham and Sarah Having another laugh). It is much […]

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