The Old Testament were the stories that Jesus and His first followers knew. The Psalms were the songs that filled their homes and their worship. Understanding this can help us understand what problems Jesus was trying to solve. The reality is that the Old Testament has some wonderful, hopeful stories and the New Testament has some difficult, uncomfortable teachings. Having both helps us grow in our understanding. There is a famous saying, ‘those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.’ Reading the Old Testament can help us clearly see the ways people fall short of following God fully…and maybe can encourage us in living more faithfully. – Pastor Trudy Stoffel
Abraham and Sarah both seem to think that God tells jokes (Genesis 17:17; 18:12)! But God is sincere, promising Isaac to the aging couple. This begs the question – does God joke around, or is God always sincere? Here are a couple instances in scripture where God might be joking or laughing:
God sounds sarcastic as he addresses Job (Job 38:5)
God laughs at the foolishness of kings (Psalm 2:4; 59:8)
These aren’t instances of good humor – not like the jokes we might tell to lift others’ spirits, not “funny ha ha”… But even if God doesn’t tell knock-knock jokes, it is clear that God still appoints a time for our laughter (Ecclesiastes 3:4) and brings laughter to us.
A clear instance of God inspiring restorative laughter is found in the 126th Psalm, which I leave you with today:
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
then were we like those who dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are glad indeed.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses of the Negeb.
Those who sowed with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed,
will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.
There ARE two creation stories in the book of Genesis. The first begins with breath over the waters and a command for light. Then come the plants, then animals, then humans. In the second, God makes a person – a ‘mud-guy’ first and then builds up a creation around him. Wow, what a different perspective each gives us. Both stories are needed to hold the fullness of God’s plan… the perfect balance revealed in the first story and the role of humans in the second.