Moses, the inspired author of the book of “beginnings,” first introduced us to the parents of the Hebrew race, Abram and Sarai, through the lineage of Shem (Genesis 11:29). We read early on in the accounts of Abram (later to be called Abraham) that God instructed him to pack up and leave all that he was familiar with. God promised to bless him and his descendants (12:1-3). Abram believed God and it was “credited to him as righteousness” (15:5-6).
When we as humans are told something far-fetched, our first reaction might be to chuckle and respond sarcastically in disbelief. Such was the case for Abraham and Sarah. Abraham (100) and his wife Sarah (90) were old and advanced in age. As a matter of fact, she was past the point of childbearing (Genesis 18:11; Hebrews 11:11). So, when Abraham, who “believed” God, was informed of God’s promise of Sarah to bear him a child named Isaac (Genesis 17:15-17), we might expect an affirmative reaction. This was far from the outcome. The Bible says Abraham “fell on his face and laughed” (17:17). Sarah too laughed at the promise (18:12-13). The Lord responded to the couple, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” (18:14).
Today in the twenty-first century, we have an advantage over the people of antiquity. We have the written word of God at our fingertips. The apostle Paul mentions that narratives like these were written for our instruction (Romans 15:4). That should mean, when we read of the promises of God to His children, we should not be laughing in disbelief when we encounter them. Some of these promises will include various trials (James 1:2) or discipline from our heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:5-11). Will you and I take these matters seriously or will we laugh them off as improbable or insignificant? Remember, the name Isaac in the Hebrew language means “laughter” and should be a constant reminder that God’s promises are no laughing matter.