(Photo: Dan Delzell)
Have you ever been at your wits' end with a relative or a friend? You have tried over and over again to help that person come to their senses regarding their self-destructive behavior....but to no avail. Sometimes after you have cried all the tears you have to cry for someone, you find yourself shaking your head in bewilderment and even laughing at the foolishness of their reckless behavior.
Enter God, stage right. He creates man to enjoy loving fellowship with him. Man then rebels and pulls away from God. The Lord comes after man by giving His life on the cross to save those who have gone astray. Some people turn around and get right with God. Others press on in their rebellious ways....and some even slander their Creator with a dark heart and a foul mouth.
What is God to do with such wicked people? The Father gave His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. What more do you want Him to do? Could you blame God if He responded with laughter when men openly mock their Maker?
Guess what? "The Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming." (Psalm 37:13)
He does what? Are you saying God laughs at people who are choosing the path which leads to eternity in hell? In some cases, yes. Those who choose to live in opposition to God's requirements will one day find themselves in a horrible place. God reaches out to them here on earth to rescue their souls....but because they shamelessly laugh at His goodness and salvation, God then begins laughing at them.
It's not an image most of us tend to think of when we consider God's attitude toward sinners. There is no doubt that God has tremendous compassion for lost people. God did more than we could ever hope for when Jesus suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the world. However, if a man is going to be so brazen as to not only reject God's offer of salvation, but also to laugh at the very One who is reaching out to save him....then yes, God laughs at that man....for the Lord knows his day is coming.
God was not laughing when Christ was suffering for our salvation on the cross. God does not laugh when most people suffer. There are some people, however, who inspire God's laughter by their defiant opposition to God's Word. In those cases, God always gets the last laugh.
It might sound "unloving" to say God laughs at the wicked. Well, is it any more "unloving" than sending the wicked to hell? God's love is offered to all....and received only by some. God's justice is handed down to those who reject the Lord's love and grace. If God wants to laugh at those who oppose Him, who are we to question the Almighty? God will do whatever He wishes....whenever He wishes to do so. "Woe to him who quarrels with His Maker." (Isaiah 45:9)
Remember what the Lord said to Job. "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let him who accuses God answer Him!" (Job 40:1) How will the mockers answer for themselves on Judgment Day? Their laughter will quickly turn to astonishment....and then to hopeless despair when their eternal sentence is handed down.
By the way....the Bible also says that God does not delight in the death of the wicked. "As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11)
How do passages like that correspond to the verses which say God laughs at the coming judgment for the wicked? Well....just think about all the emotions you go through when someone you love keeps committing inappropriate and harmful behavior year after year. One day your heart is filled with sadness for that person....and another day you may throw your hands up in the air in laughter, exasperation, and incredulity.
God has the right to respond to the wicked however He chooses. Meanwhile, let us remain in a place spiritually where our hearts are always filled with compassion for those who have hardened their hearts toward Jesus. You and I did not create them. You and I are not their Judge....nor do we have the right to laugh at their impending doom. Only God has that right.
In one instance, God laughs at those who persecute Him. In another instance, Jesus says while hanging on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) If you can reconcile those contrasting responses from God, you are a step closer to understanding how the cross of Christ is where God's love and God's justice came together perfectly and forever. Jesus suffered pain and wept on earth....so that you and I could enjoy pleasures and laugh forever in heaven.
Our loving God has done all that is necessary for the salvation of the wicked. That includes the wickedness God found in your heart and mine. Let us as believers press on in our efforts to reach those who laugh at God....while our gracious God laughs, and loves, and forgives, and even saves some people who opposed Him for awhile....before coming to their senses. When they come under conviction by the Holy Spirit, their laughter at God turns to shame over their sin....and then joy over their salvation.
If you ever sense that God is laughing at you, it would be a good time to reflect on where you stand with Him. You can laugh at God all day long if you wish....but He will always, and I mean always....get the last laugh. That is a sobering thought for anyone who has even an ounce of spiritual sensitivity and biblical discernment. At the end of the day my friend, your acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is no laughing matter.