| posted 11/09/2010
A: How can we his creatures think things are funny unless the whole idea came from God in the first place? I've never heard a sermon about God's sense of humor. Nor have I read a theology book that lists God's laughter as one of his immutable characteristics. But I think it is. And unless we see that side of God, I'm not sure we'll totally appreciate him.
Think about his creation. Surely he made creatures such as the otter, dolphin, and penguin, just because they delighted him so much. Or consider what we find in Scripture itself (keeping in mind that Scripture was inspired by God). Job 39:13-18 (a very serious book) describes the life of a stork in pretty funny terms. Verse 17 says, "For God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense." I hope I'm never described that way!
The prophet Jonah (found in the book of the same name) was a "drama queen" who makes us laugh in retrospect. After running from God, being rescued from drowning by spending three days in a fish's belly, and then complaining that God rescued Nineveh from destruction, Jonah throws a tantrum about a vine dying because it made him so hot and uncomfortable to lose its shade. In Jonah 4:9 he complains about the vine saying, "I am angry enough to die." Doesn't it make you want to say, "Good grief, Jonah. Lighten up!" God must have had a sense of humor not only to put up with but use Jonah for his glory and purposes.
Proverbs is a funny book at times. If you read it aloud to a group, it's difficult not to laugh. Proverbs 11:22 says, "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion." Doesn't that give you delight on the days you feel more piggish than beautiful? You wonder if Solomon had just fought with one of his many wives when he said, "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife" (21:9). However, my favorite proverb is 22:13, "The sluggard says, 'There is a lion outside!'" That sounds like as good excuse as any to me on days when I feel lazy. I don't recommend trying it with your boss next Monday though. And there's the night person's favorite verse, "If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse" (27:14). I had a roommate in college who quoted this to me, reminding me that not everyone wakes up cheery.
But I think Hebrews 11:12 is the funniest verse in the Bible: "Therefore there was born even of [Abraham], and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars in heaven …" (emphasis mine, NASB).
Of course God's humor is never cruel the way humans twist it to be at times. In fact, God is entirely pure and untainted, thus so is his humor. Such a God inspired the author of Proverbs to write, "A happy heart makes the face cheerful" (15:13), or seen from the opposite point of view in verse 30, "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart." Proverbs 16:24 says, "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Aren't you glad?
JoHannah Reardon is managing editor of ChristianBibleStudies.com. She has written seven novels and a family devotional guide, and she blogs at www.johannahreardon.com. For more in-depth Bible studies, go to ChristianBibleStudies.com.