“Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’ … Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’ … So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac….Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.'” (Genesis 17:17; 18:12; 21:2-3,5-6, NASB).
The name Isaac means, “He laughs.” And, each time the verb “laugh” is used in these verses, it is a wordplay on the name “Isaac.” So, this extraordinary and somewhat humorous story of the miraculous birth of Isaac is actually a story of who gets the last laugh!
God appeared to Abraham when he was ninety-nine years old and renewed His covenant with him. God commanded Abraham and all his male descendants to be circumcised as a sign of His covenant. Then, God told Abraham that his covenant people will be descended through a son born to his wife, Sarah, who was ninety years old and barren. Abraham fell on his face before God and laughed because of the implausibility of a child being born to a hundred-year-old man and a ninety-year-old woman.
Whether the meaning is that Abraham was so incredulous that he fell on his face laughing or that he fell on his face to conceal his laughter from God is not clear to me. But, in either case, God’s promise seemed incredibly funny to Abraham.
A short time later God appeared to Abraham again, this time as He was on His way to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. When God reminded Abraham that Sarah would bear him a son, Sarah overheard the conversation and she couldn’t restrain herself from laughing. God seemed to be a little put out with Sarah for laughing and reminded Abraham (and Sarah) that there was nothing too difficult for Him and that she would indeed have a son.
When Sarah bore a son to Abraham in her old age (and Abraham’s old age) as God had proclaimed, they named the son, Isaac, “he laughs.” Sarah now understood that God was having the last laugh with the birth of Isaac. Sarah declared that when people hear that she has had a son in her old age, they will rejoice with her. Their laughter would not be so much from the absurdity of this late-life birth, but rather from the realization that Isaac was the son of God’s promise, God’s blessing, God’s supernatural intervention into the lives of Abraham and Sarah to work His redemptive plan.
If you are willing, God wants to accomplish the absurd, the ridiculous, the inane through your life! Because, if God is at work, then He is at work supernaturally. He can’t do His work any other way!
What seems improbable, implausible, unimaginable, even laughable to us, is just the way God accomplishes His plans and purposes…
So, let God have the last laugh in your life!
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” (Luke 6:21, NASB)