All Scripture is inspired. Good Bible-believing Christians hang onto this, and they should, because it’s true. We should read, examine, and even analyze Scripture in order to uncover the unending depth of its wisdom. The Bible reeks of spiritual tenets, and it’s set apart from all other books, deserving of its lofty title “Holy” — yet occasionally it has the scent of humor and good ol’ storytelling. Even God uses the ridiculous and irreverent to remind us that people are friggen hilarious.
We like to think of Abraham as some stoic figurehead of Jewish tradition, and his wife Sarah as the faithful and loving matriarch — untouchable and holy. But that’s because we favor the New Testament and read about the elevated Abraham and his great faith. Many people avoid doing the work to investigate their lives.
Genesis 16 highlights a scandalous situation involving an impatient wannabe father and his compliant wife. Sarah gives Abraham permission to hook up with her personal servant to produce a child, even though God was pretty clear that He would come through with a kid, eventually. With this humiliating backdrop, the whole scenario seems hopeless.
Now Abraham is 100, and Sarah isn’t exactly the trophy wife of yore anymore herself. God appears to Abraham once more, in the form of a few visitors, to get it through to him that he WILL have a son (v. 1, 10). Sarah overhears the now-redundant promise and gets the giggles (v. 12). The Bible tactfully lets the reader know that Sarah’s ovaries are now raisins (v. 11), and Sarah shares with the Lord that Abraham is shooting blanks too. Not wholly amused with her jesting, God reminds her once more that she’s going to bear a child, calling her out for laughing at His promise.
Then Sarah denies laughing (v. 15). Undoubtedly the circumstances are absurd, so her laughter is somewhat warranted, but her denial of doing so before God seems to be unnecessary, and this denial appears extraneous to the reader. God humorously argues: “No, but you did laugh!” to clear up the misunderstanding, in case Sarah had a delusional episode or perhaps the reader is caught up in her untruths.
I had trouble garnering a spiritual nugget from this passage initially, but in the midst of hilarity, this passage popped up: “Is anything too hard for the Lord”?
God is a pretty arrogant guy — He creates man to worship Him and take care of His creation, gets upset when His people start doing their own thing and floods the whole planet, then loses it again when they decide to build a huge tower, befuddling men to the point of having to start up their own nations. But He has a point when He asks this question.
Whether or not we intend to, we ignore God, all the time. Sometimes it seems like it comes naturally. We dispose of God’s authority altogether. Psalm 12 says, “With our tongue we will prevail; Our lips are our own; Who is lord over us?” We disown ourselves from God constantly, making ourselves “god” by proclaiming, intentionally or not, that we have control over everything.
Sarah had forgotten where she came from. The conclusion is somewhat inevitable, because she’s old and she knows it. God’s promise is becoming ridiculous in her mind. But it is in the impossibility of the situation that God is glorified. If we had the capability to do everything ourselves, the necessity of God wouldn’t exist. But it is when life is out of reach that God lifts us, maybe even just to remind us that He’s still around.
We need to turn to God, eventually, but eventually might be too late. Whether or not you believe He exists or has any influence on your existence, He is real, and if you continue to deny Him, He might get the last laugh.