Does God Have a Sense of Humor?

Posted: April 25, 2016 in god
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Recently, my office manger, Tasia, and I were chatting in my office when we looked over at the couch and saw a giant cockroach sitting there, watching us.

Apparently he had come in for counseling. We have said the door of REFINERY Church is open to everyone.

What to do with this expectant cockroach?

Tasia went to the supply closet, got out a can of the aerosol spray used to dust off computer keyboards, turned it upside down so that only the cold aerosol would come up and fired it off at our en-couched counselee.

He turned white; he was literally white, with frost — frozen. We put his little frozen body in the trash.

Tasia  — or as I now think of now, Elsa, the ice queen — retell the story and just laugh.Why did God make cockroaches anyway, in such numbers? It has been noted that he seems to have an “inordinate fondness for beetles.”

Maybe he gets a laugh out of watching our reaction to them.

Which brings up the question: Is God funny? Does God have a sense of humor? Did he laugh,  when he made cockroaches, when he made us?

Alfred North Whitehead, the esteemed British mathematician, logician and philosopher once wrote, “the total absence of humour in the Bible is one of the most singular things in all of literature”

Alfred was wrong. The Bible is full of humor.

Maybe it was Alfred who wasn’t funny.

Humor is fundamental to God’s character.

In the Bible we see God engaging in an abundance of wit, sarcasm and irony. The Old Testament is full of funny stories and crazy situations.

A woman who has gets pregnant at 90, a country overrun by frogs, a donkey that talks, a prophet barfed up by a whale — the Bible is funny

Ecclesiastes 3:4 confirms humor’s esteemed place in God’s design saying, There is a “a time to laugh …”

The Bible weeps; it also laughs. God takes time to laugh.

To see God’s humor, begin at the beginning. Creatures are the first proof that God laughs.

The Pygmy Seahorse, the Blob fish, the Aye-Aye, us — you can’t look at some of the faces of creation, and not think God has a sense of humor.

Think of how he must chuckle, guffaw, even howl over you and me.

Secondly, God’s humor shows surprising enough, shows up in his discipline of us, his designer corrections to get us back on track.

The great theme of the Bible is that God loves people, and that after they are lost from him, he will do anything to get them back.

So God engages in ironic correction. We may be corrected in the same way we sinned.

At the command of the Pharaoh, the Egyptians drown the Hebrew children in the Nile, but Moses is spared and then God drowns the Egyptians in the Red sea.

Take that.

Haman, the villain in the book of Esther, builds a gallows for a good man name Mordecai, and then when Haman’s evil is exposed, he is hung on his own execution machine.

God corrects with ironic solutions, he defeats with mocking punishments, and He leads his sweet ones back to himself with wry tactics.

The Israelites whine in the desert that the manna he gave them was not enough. They demand meat from God, and so he gives them meat until it is coming out of their noses. They get so much meat it makes them sick.

Beware what you want. God might give you that, and that ironically will be your correction.

Psalm 37 reports,  “The wicked plot against the righteous, and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs … for he sees that their day [the day of the ironic lesson) is coming.”

The divine sardonic chuckle — you want to live in such a way that you don’t hear that.

Take for instance, the day I shot my older brother Steve. It was his divinely ordained correction.

I aimed the gun, squeezed the trigger, and fired.

Now what you need to know is that he  asked for it. Literally. He said: ” I wonder what it feels like to be shot with a BB gun.”

“Let’s find out,” I said. “I’ll shoot.”

So by plan, I aimed at his blue-jeaned butt. But the shot carried high, guided, I’d say, by the hand of God, and hit him square in the middle of the back — which was to me divine punishment for all the times he had hit me and tortured me.

So there you have it. The ironic wrath of God on my brother. I myself witnesses it, and then I started running.

I heard his footsteps behind me. I believe he wanted to thank me. But I was humble, and wanted no credit, and I kept running.

So,  we see God’s humor in the creation (the blob fish; we see his humor in his discipline, (my brother) and thirdly we see God’s humor in his delight in us.

Zephaniah 3:17, “He will take great delight in you … he will rejoice over you with singing.”

God laughs in a happy, appreciative, celebratory way over us.

Consider Genesis 18:10, where God informs Abraham (who is about 100 years old) and Sarah (who is about 90) that they will have a son by “this time next year.”

God must have gotten a kick out of that announcement.

And they sure did. When Sarah is told, she openly laughs. Hebrews says at this point, Abraham was “as good as dead.”

Sarah was thinking, if we do it, at this age, the old guy will probably have a heart attack, and she laughs, and God’s laughs with her, because this is ridiculous and delightful and crazy  and good.

Sex, at 100, and a baby — they all laugh and God with them.

Zephaniah 3:17. He will take great delight in you.

God is not a far off, uptight, angry, he is not a humorless tyrant. God is funny, he is clever, he is wry, he has tricks up his sleeve.

His humor draws us close to him.

How could we ever relate to a stern, humorless patrician-God who never jokes around?

But a funny God who tells his man Abraham to name his soon-to-be-born son, Isaac, or in Hebrew, Yit-zhak — because that Hebrew word means laughed, that we can relate to.

Laughter — it is divine, it is so good for us.

Poking fun, is a way of dealing with brokenness, normalizing difficulty, a way of coping.

What are you upset about? Try laughing at it.

The Bible says a merry heart is good like a medicine. Humor is the antidote of life. It is God’s survival medicine.

Ever wonder what heaven will be like? The disciples wanted to sit by Jesus, at his right hand. That would scare the heck out of me. What would I say? What if Iused the wrong fork, or language, at dinner.

Besides, sitting around the throne, listening to harp music, I prefer electric guitars. I think Jesus might too.

In heaven I think, I’ll be down at the river with the other people who barely got in, partying and telling jokes and laughing hilariously and whooping it up.

And perhaps the serious ones, around the throne, will cast an envious eye toward us, that wild bunch, down at the river and want to come down.

It is a great mystery. It is a great mystery of the OT.

We live within the mystery of a God who laughs and sings and hoots and hollers over us, and when we too laugh, this brings us closer to God.


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