God Has a Sense of Humor
So, there’s this joke that starts, “A rabbi, a Catholic priest, and a Mormon walk into a bar. . .,” or maybe, “A rabbi, a priest, and a Christian Scientist wind up in Hell, and. . .”
Everyone’s heard funny stories like these, maybe while trying not to laugh. Folks shouldn’t make fun of religious things, right? It might make God mad, because He’s very serious (and why were those guys in a bar, anyway?).
But guess what? God is funny. God the Almighty, Eternal, and All-Powerful has a great sense of humor.
No, not because He gave somebody a “nose like that,” or because some people grow hair on their toes. There are much better examples of God’s delightful, insightful comedy.
For instance, look at the world the Lord made. Watch a few nature shows and notice all the ridiculous creatures He put on His beautiful planet. He designed them perfectly, and He also made them funny.
Warthogs, proboscis monkeys, penguins, squirrels . . . He made them to amuse and fascinate His favorite creations – His people! Like a great Dad, He loves to make us laugh.
There’s more. God made sure some of His best stuff wouldn’t be forgotten, by recording it in His Word. Yes, the Bible is often quite funny, too.
In Exodus 32, Moses has finally come down after forty days on the Mountain, arms laden with stone tablets inscribed by the Lord. He finds a million or so people having a wild party in the desert. It’s not just wild, it’s “unrestrained” – everybody’s eating, drinking, dancing, and celebrating their new god, a golden calf statue made from plundered Egyptian treasure.
Moses grabs his older brother Aaron, whom he left in charge, and yells over the din, “Where did that golden calf come from?”
Aaron tries to defend himself, claiming the people got impatient for Moses and demanded Aaron make a new god for them. After he told them to bring him their gold, “They gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out” (Exodus 32:24).
Seriously, Aaron? Sounds like an excuse a three-year old would use. It’s word-for-word what the Bible reports.
Read another story in 1 Samuel, chapters 4-6, about Israel’s disastrous battle with its long-time enemy, the Philistines. The people of Israel were afraid of losing again, so they borrowed the Ark of the Covenant as a lucky charm to help them win.
Although the Philistines were rightly afraid of the God of Israel, they defeated the Israelites in a “very great slaughter” and took the sacred Ark as plunder.
This awful story takes a humorous turn when the Philistines put the Ark in their own temple next to their god, Dagon. Read further and watch these real-life characters scramble to get rid of a holy hot potato. God used some surprising tactics to convince the Philistines to return His Ark to Israel.
All through the Bible, you’ll find startling, ironic, and funny stories. But mark this, with a highlighter if necessary – God never pulls a practical joke on anyone. Not ever. Lamentations 3:32 says, “Yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly. . . .” This and many more scriptures prove that cruel jesting is never part of God’s nature or His work.
So, why does the Bible include humorous and even embarrassing accounts about God’s people? Because He wants us to recognize that even for His most faithful, life could be confusing and sometimes crazy. But ultimately, in spite of their mistakes, and because of their persevering faith, Hebrews 11:16 declares, “God is not ashamed to be called their God.”
God knows our lives, too, can be frustrating and painful. While He wants us to learn wisdom and self-control, He doesn’t expect us to always have it all together. To the Lord, we are already “holy and without blame before Him in love. . . and accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:4, 6). Clearly, God is not ashamed of us, either!
So lighten up! We can laugh at ourselves while we’re learning how God wants us to live. He has promised to help us. He will make us “complete in every good work (and) well-pleasing in His sight” (Hebrews 13:21). We can cheerfully say, as in Psalm 126, “Our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. . . . The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad!”
This BLOG recommends: Christian comedians Ken Davis, Tim Hawkins, and CPR (three “improv” guys) for laugh-out-loud, clean fun!