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Laughing at God (Genesis 17:15-21)

July 19, 2021 | by: Gregg Hunter | 0 comments

Posted in: Genesis 17

Abraham and Sarah have a lot in common. For instance, both have had their names changed, and both laugh at God when He tells them that they will have a child in their old age. Let’s look at some of this in today’s passage.


Please read Genesis 17:15-21.

We have already seen Abram’s name changed to Abraham. Now we see his wife’s name changed from Sarai to Sarah, which means princess. It’s interesting that God has recently promised Abraham that “kings shall come from you” (17:6), and now He calls his wife a princess. Furthermore, God reiterates His promise that Abraham will have a son, and this time emphasizes what he earlier intended and implied: this son will be born from Sarah, Abraham’s wife. What is Abraham’s response to Sarah bearing a child at 90 years old? Doubt. Compromise. Pleas for a different plan. He even laughs at the outrageousness of God’s proclamation!

When we think that God calls us to do tough things, our reaction is often no different than Abraham. We doubt. We doubt God, and we doubt ourselves:

How could I possibly have the boldness to share the gospel with my neighbors?

How could I possibly love and forgive that person who has cut me so deeply?

How could I possibly give more of my finances to support the work of the church?

How could I actually adopt a child in need?

How could I _________ (fill in the blank)?


Has God ever called you to do something so outrageous that you laughed at Him?

I remember going on a short-term mission trip to Guatemala for about 10 days. Midway through the trip, a missionary told our team that they really needed help for a longer term. Our trip leader suggested, “well, Gregg isn’t doing anything.” What?! I came down to Guatemala for a week, my first time ever leaving the country mind you, and now you want me to stay here?! I don’t even know the language; I don’t know what I’d do; I don’t know how I’d finance it; I don’t know what to wear. I actually laughed at my leader, whom I now realize was being used by God to push me out of my comfort zone and into His will. God worked everything out for that trip, and I ended up in Guatemala for about 4 months. But, yes, I originally laughed at God.

I would suggest that, if you’ve never laughed at what God is calling you to do, then maybe you haven’t been truly open to Him. God calls His followers to do some truly outrageous things, like start an orphanage or adopt a child; like go to a foreign country where they don’t speak the language; like preach when they are scared of large crowds; or even to give their lives for the sake of Christ.

These aren’t things that extraordinary, super Christians are called to do. God takes ordinary Christians and calls them to do extraordinary things. Only in this way can we give God all the glory for the extraordinary things that He accomplishes through us. Open yourself up to God, and listen to what He might be calling you to do. You might laugh too. Then do it.