God gets the Last Laugh

Back in the 1920’s, there was a dance-hall comedian called Walter “Happy” MacDonald. He was changed forever when he heard a sermon on that verse in Psalm 2: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.”

It’s an odd verse, isn’t it?

And an odd irony: The laughter of God over a comedian who was turning to Him.

 What makes God laugh?

 The context of Psalm 2 suggests that God is rolling his eyes at the idea that we can manage without him.

 Or challenge his authority.

Or…have the last laugh!

 Now there’s a thought. No matter how our sense of comic timing goes, God gets the last laugh. When Sarah heard she was to become a mother at ninety years of age, she laughed with unbelief, and so God told her that her son would be called Isaac, which means Laughter (Genesis 17:17-19). But God had the last laugh, which caused Sarah to genuinely rejoice, “God has made me laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me” (Genesis 21:6).

 Pharoah laughed –or rather sneered-  at Moses “Who is the Lord?” when Moses demanded Pharaoh let the Lord’s people go. His sneers gave way to the finality of divine derision when God led Israel out of Egyptian bondage (Exodus 5:14). God’s last laugh has a grim feel to it, sometimes. God is not to be mocked.

 And while we’re on the subject of evildoers seeking to usurp God’s authority, look at Psalm 37:13 “The Lord shall laugh at him: for God sees that his day is coming.”

 I remember when I was a kid seeing a map of the world on our Geography class wall. Marked in an oppressive black were all the countries which were designated “Communist.” It seemed a very scary thing. Probably just as scary as people growing up now see a possibly imaginary “Axis of Evil” of Islamic tyrants threatening our peace of mind or way of life.

 And yet, God had the last laugh over that fear of the last generation. In one brief spell at the end of the 1980s, communism toppled in one country after another.

 In the face of the overwhelming authority of God, our ideas of self-importance are small fry indeed. Long after every anti-Christian government  has been forgotten, God will still laugh on. The last laugh always belongs to Him..

God’s last laugh derives from an effortless superiority, and the conclusive finality of his power.

 God is not worried. Though nations rage and take counsel together against the Lord, the omnipotent Sovereign rolls His eyes. He smilingly counts them as a drop in a bucket, the small dust of the balance, grasshoppers and stubble in a tornado (Isaiah 40:15,22,24). Are you going to brandish your water-pistol to put out the sun’s fire?

 But we can share that laughter.

Grace itself is God’s last laugh. That’s what Happy MacDonald discovered. When those who deserve punishment receive the free gift of God’s love, then (according to Luke 15) the angels in heaven rejoice! And the verb means “laugh out loud for joy”!  Because of God’s laughter His people can laugh with God.

 Eugene O’Neill wrote a play, Lazarus Laughed, in which he pictures Lazarus, after his resurrection from the dead, going about laughing. O’Neill’s Lazarus says, “There is only life! I heard the heart of Jesus laughing in my heart . . . and I laughed in the laughter of God!” The growing crowds capture the mood of Lazarus, chanting as they march, “Laugh! Laugh! Laugh with Lazarus! Fear is no more! There is no death!” At the climax of the play Lazarus faces Caesar, laughs at the Emperor’s threats and is put to death still laughing. And Caesar is no longer quite so sure that he has the upper hand. “Don’t you know that I have power over you, the power of life and death?”  “Ah, you only have the power God allows you. And I am His.”

God has had the last laugh.

And it’s good.


This entry was posted in Christianity, Contemporism, Evangelism, Faith, God, Is it me?, Jesus, life, Listening, Morning Devotions, New Testament, The church today. Bookmark the permalink.

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