1 Kings 18:1-46
Maybe I’m weird, but there are times the Bible makes me laugh. I mean really laugh. The older I get and the more comfortable I feel in the Book, the more I find times when a smiling response is not only appropriate, it’s expected.
Like that time when the main event at Mount Carmel brought out 450 idolatrous prophets on one side and Elijah, all alone, on the other. You remember the story (1 Kings 18). Baal vs. Jehovah. Big altar, prayer for fire. The One who “answers by fire” . . . that’s the One to follow.
From morning ’til noon those prophets of Baal called on their deity. Those guys got so anxious that they “leaped about the altar which they made.”
Elijah became amused at their antics and started mocking them: “Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened” (18:27). And to amplify the humour, some scholars believe that the Hebrew idiom rendered “gone aside” suggests that Baal may have “gone to the bathroom.” Come on, smile; it’s okay.
There are many more incidents that add a touch of humour to God’s truth. Just the other day while I was digging through the dark days in David’s life, I came upon a choice piece of humour. Saul’s jealousy had grown into murderous rage, which forced David to run for his life. Suddenly, surrounded by a bunch of strangers from Gath, he didn’t know what else to do but fake insanity. “So he disguised his sanity before them . . . and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard” (1 Sam. 21:13).
Now, that was anything but funny. But when you read the next couple of verses, you can’t help laughing. Upon witnessing this strange phenomenon, the people of Gath hauled the stranger up to their king’s front door. And it’s his response that’s so funny: “Behold, you see the man behaving as a madman. Why do you bring him to me? Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this one to act the madman in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?” In other words, King Achish was up to his ears with more than enough nuts in his kingdom!
Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it’s often funnier. When it is, we don’t insult God by laughing; we honour Him. It’s our way of expressing appreciation for His desire to touch us where we live and to keep His truth interesting, appealing, and, yes, real . . . for so much of life is funny. Really funny.
God sets His truth in picture frames of life.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.