June 18, 2019 by jc cast
Most people I know believe God can be everything from judgmental and vengeful to kind and loving. This includes many non-believers, which is ironic, since they are attributing such traits to a God, they claim to not believe exists. Surprisingly, however, no one seems to bring up God’s sense of humor. After all, we have a sense of humor (at least most of us). Where do you think it came from? Are we not made in His image?
Then God said, “Let us make a man—someone like ourselves… (Genesis 1:26).
Can we find examples of God’s sense of humor in His Word? Absolutely! Just keep in mind that what I find humorous may not be to you, and vice-versa, because each person’s character and life experiences—which contribute to their sense of humor—varies greatly. So, you may not agree with my examples, and I may not agree with all of yours. But the fact that humor can be found in the Bible as a part of God’s character is the point, not whether we agree on each situation. And, while numerous examples my be found, I’m only going to use a few for this post.
My first example takes place soon after God allowed the Philistines to have a victory over His continually rebellious people.
The Philistines took the captured Ark of God from the battleground at Ebenezer to the temple of their idol Dagon in the city of Ashdod. But when the local citizens went to see it the next morning, Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground before the Ark of Jehovah! They set him up again, but the next morning the same thing happened—the idol had fallen face down before the Ark of the Lord again. This time his head and hands had been cut off and were lying in the doorway; only the trunk of his body was left intact. — 1 Samuel 5:1-4
Can you imagine it from God’s perspective? Puny humans, the Philistines, that God used to punish his rebellious people, get so puffed up with pride that they bring their “captured treasure,” the Ark of God, into the temple of their “god,” Dagon, as an offering. Then, as the people depart for the evening, God takes a look at the lifeless idol, smiles mischievously, and flicks it over with ease. “Oops! Sorry!” And when they lift it up, He does it again, but with additional disrespect and damage.
Let us now look in the twenty-second chapter of the book of Numbers. Here we find the story of Balaam, who was asked by King Balak of Moab to curse the Israelites, so he can drive them out of his land. Although Balaam tells King Balak that he can only tell him what the Lord tells him to say, Balaam’s attitude in the situation angers God, so He sends an angel ahead of Balaam (now riding a donkey) to wait for him on the road.
Balaam cannot see the angel, but the donkey can. The animal attempts to go around the angel, eventually realizes the angel will not allow them to pass, and lays down in the road. During this period Balaam beat the donkey three times.
Instead of letting Balaam see the angel, God chose to have the animal speak. She gives a good account of herself, which Balaam had to accept, and God finally allowed Balaam to see the angel, and he confesses his sin, etc.
The use of a donkey in this situation is both humorous and a heck of a metaphor. After all, Balaam’s stubbornness is at the heart of the matter, not the donkeys.
Now let us look at God’s response to His rebellious people begging Samuel to appoint an earthly king over them, so they can be like other nations. God’s first choice is Saul, a choice more like humans would choose for themselves, for he “was the most handsome man in Israel. And he was head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land!” — 1 Samuel 9:2. And yet, how did this future king respond when Samuel was casting lots before the tribal leaders to show the people God’s choice? When the sacred lot chose Saul, he had disappeared. The handsomest man in Israel that stood head and shoulders above everyone was cowering with the luggage (1 Samuel 10:22). An action God knew would occur before He selected Saul to be the first earthly king over Israel.
The cherry on top of this humorous situation is how God allows His second choice for king to present himself publicly during his first test. After Saul sinned against God, the Lord chose David, the youngest and smallest of Jesse’s eight sons, to take out Goliath—the largest Philistine, who even towered over Saul—after the rest of Israel’s army cowered for forty days unwilling to fight the giant-like enemy. And David did it with a slingshot and a rock!
From the human standpoint the above events occurred during serious situations. A fact not lost on God, considering the eventual outcomes. The Ark of God was returned after much death, Balaam was eventually killed during one of Israel’s attacks, and Saul and his sons perished on Mount Gilboa during a battle with the Philistines. And yet, prior to the final events God chose to reveal a part of His character not often seen—His sense of humor.
Some may consider these odd places to find humor, but is it really so odd? Don’t humans use humor during traumatic periods as a release? As a disabled Vet I can often recall some rather rude humor going on during periods of extreme danger. And are we not made in God’s image, as stated earlier?
Now let us consider God’s sense of humor outside the Bible. Those of us who believe in God can see His sense of humor throughout His creations; especially in mankind and throughout many species in nature.
I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors, and have many fond memories watching the playful antics of otters, cats, squirrels, and other animals, along with the hilarious mating habits of many species. And most of you can probably say the same thing; which, if you’re a Believer, allows you to see a part of God’s humor. And if you’re not, just attribute it to whatever random selection you choose. Oops! Sorry! Selection implies choice, intelligent or otherwise. Just enjoy the humor for the sake of humor.
Have a good day.