One of the vital parts of my life is holy laughter, Christian rejoicing! And it should be a vital part of the life of every child of God.
Adoniram Judson, famed missionary to Burma, was so filled with the Spirit of God, so happy in Jesus, that the Burmese tabbed him “Mr. Glory-Face.” But we will look at a different kind of laughter—God’s laughter. Psalm 2:1–4 says:
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”
Now turn to Proverbs 1:26–30.
“I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.”
Let’s read verse 26 again: “I… will laugh at your calamity.”
God Is Not Known for His Laughter
The God of the Bible is not a laughing God. In fact, there is only one reference in the Scriptures where Jesus actually rejoiced.
When? Under what circumstances? On what occasion did our Saviour rejoice?
The answer is in Luke, chapter 10. Let me give you the background. Jesus has sent out His seventy disciples. They have labored in the harvest field for Him. Now they return giving their testimonies of the service they have rendered for Christ. And the Bible says that “Jesus rejoiced in spirit” (vs. 21).
Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). But one thing moved His heart and stirred His soul to an inner laughter and joy: soul winning! When these men returned telling of the souls won and the lives changed, “Jesus rejoiced in spirit.”
I want to make Jesus happy every day. I want the angels of God to rejoice. I want them to see Bob Kelley winning souls. I want them to see our church winning souls. Then they will experience Luke 15:10: “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” I am for keeping Heaven happy.
But apart from that one reference, the God of the Bible is not a laughing, gleeful God.
God had nothing to laugh about when He looked down upon the Garden of Eden and saw Adam and Eve hiding in their sin.
God had nothing to laugh about when He looked down on the antediluvian world and saw corrupted people. He opened the windows of Heaven and literally poured out a universal flood upon the earth.
God had nothing to laugh about when He looked down on Sodom and Gomorrah and saw Lot compromising his convictions and selling his family into sin.
God had nothing to laugh about when Moses came off Mount Sinai and found the children of Israel dancing naked and foolishly around the golden calf.
God had nothing to laugh about that day when He looked down into the king’s palace and saw King David wallowing in adultery.
God had nothing to laugh about that day when He looked down from Heaven and saw Israel given to idolatry, committing whoredoms with the Ammonites, the Amalekites and the Moabites; and for their heinous sins, the Bible says He turned them into Babylonian captivity.
And certainly God had nothing to laugh about when in the fullness of time God sent His Son, the Messiah, born of a virgin, and He was rejected in the house of His own brethren. When God looked down on Calvary and saw Jesus dying the ignominious death of the cross, God had nothing to laugh about.
I am saying the God of the Bible is not a laughing God.
But one day God is going to laugh. One day the Heavens will ring with the laughter of a sovereign, omnipotent God. One day that sea of glass in Heaven (Rev. 4) will echo His laughter, and the angels and the redeemed of all the ages will cry, “Amen!”
Psalm 2:4 says, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.” Proverbs 1:26: “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.”
Is this the laughter of some kind of practical joker who has just played a trick on the earth and is getting a real kick out of it? Oh, no. Is this the laughter of a bloodthirsty tyrant who is bent on killing? Oh, no. Is this the laughter of some kind of jolly elf, a court jester? No, my friends.
What Kind of Laughter Is It?
Before we see what kind of laughter it is, I want you to see what kind of laughter it is not.
First of all, this is not a “Sarah-type” laughter. Remember that day when the two angels of God came with our Lord Jesus (a Christophany) to Mamre? Abraham was sitting at the tent door when Jesus and the two angels made their appearance and said, “Abraham, you are going to have a son. The long-awaited promised seed will become a reality.”
Sarah laughed behind the tent door. “I am ninety years old and going to have a baby? Ha, ha, ha!” Here was the laughter of skepticism. She snickered at the promise of God.
You know, we have a whole lot of Sarahs in the world today.
I was in Charleston, West Virginia. I picked up a Sunday morning paper and saw an article entitled “The Reporter Goes to Church.” The reporter told of a local preacher who stood in his pulpit and said this: “Don’t you come to me with that old mythology of a virgin birth. I want none of the Cinderella story of the bed of hay. I don’t want to hear about ‘no room in the inn.’ That is a fairy tale.”
Yes, we have our Sarahs today who laugh at the promises of God. Listen to me! The laughter of God is not skeptical laughter.
Again, the laughter of God is not a laughter like David’s. In Psalm 126:2 he said, “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing.” Here David was rejoicing in the goodness and the blessings of God upon His land and people.
But the laughter we look at has nothing to do with the goodness of God, nothing to do with the mercy of God. The laughter we envision tonight deals with judgment and wrath.
Again, the laughter we look at is not the laughter of the redeemed. In Luke 6:21 Jesus promises us that there is coming a day when those who weep will laugh. Blessed day when our war with the world, the flesh and the Devil will end. Suffering ones, look up. There’s happiness ahead in the eternal day!
When Is God Going to Laugh?
I have gone to my Bible and picked out three times when I feel definitely God is going to laugh.
1. There is coming a day, in the valley of Megiddo, the valley of Esdraelon, by Mount Carmel, near the Mediterranean Sea, when Jesus Christ, “King of kings, and Lord of lords,” is going to laugh.
Psalm 2 is a kingdom psalm, a millennium psalm, the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ psalm. In this psalm David is looking to that day when Jesus will sit upon the throne of His father David and rule from Jerusalem for a thousand years. In this psalm David is looking toward that day when Israel is going to “blossom as the rose” (Isa. 35:1). He is looking at that day when peace will cover the earth like the waters of the sea. He is looking at that day when “the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid….And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp.” You cannot read Psalm 2 and not get a millennium picture.
The key to it is verse 2: “The kings of the earth” are going to “set themselves” in the valley of Megiddo. They are going to set the battle in array against God and against His people, the battle of Armageddon. “And the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
I believe these startling statements will be fulfilled when the Asian man comes down over the great river Euphrates, when the Southern bloc of nations, the Arab bloc, comes up, and when the peoples of the North come and with their invading armies attack the chosen people of God. Jesus Christ Himself is going to intervene.
He is coming on a white horse. His vesture will be dipped in blood. Out of His mouth will go a sharp, two-edged sword. He will be crowned “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” And in that day He is going to wreak deadly vengeance upon the Antichrist and his motley hordes. He is literally going to bury His sword in the bodies of human flesh. The Bible says the fowls of the air are going to pluck the “flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men” (Rev. 19:18).
God is going to laugh! Why? Because “the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord.” God is going to laugh. Here are little, puny, finite men standing against God Almighty, the sovereign God of the universe—the omnipotent, omniscient, immutable “Lord of lords, and King of kings.” These little men in the valley of Megiddo are going to shake their fists in the face of Almighty God and say, “Let us break their bands asunder”!
God is going to laugh because we men are so silly as to defy Him! He will laugh and laugh, and throughout the valley that laughter will echo as He dips His sword in blood.
Brother, don’t ever take the callings of God lightly. If He deals with you in any way spiritually or scripturally, don’t defy Him. Don’t fight God! It is a losing battle. The best thing you can do is agree with God Almighty and say, “Yes, Lord, I want Your will to be done.”
Acts 23:9 says that man cannot “fight against God.” Job 33:13 says, “Why dost thou strive against him [God]?”
If God calls you to preach, then preach! If God speaks to your heart concerning missions, then run to the mission field. If He wants you in the bus ministry, then sign up today.
It is dangerous to rebel against God. The callings of God are without repentance. Do not stiffen your neck. Listen! ‘God will laugh at their calamity and mock when their fear cometh’ (Prov. 1:26). Don’t defy God! Never!
Don’t defy God in salvation. If God is dealing with you with the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, pressing you to come to Christ, oh, don’t strive with Him! Don’t stand against Him as did Pharaoh of old. He may bring the lice; He may bring the frogs; He may bring the bitter murrain; He may bring the darkness; He may bring the blood into your life!
If God wants you saved, submit to His wooings. Don’t wait for a crisis, a tragedy, to drive you to Christ.
Something happened to me when I was fifteen years old. A friend of mine and I heard a message on Hell. That night God implanted the fear of God in my soul. The preacher, being a tiny man, could hardly see over the pulpit. He placed his big Bible on the pulpit, and I have never heard another sermon like that one in my life! What a sermon on Hell! It singed my eyebrows! Man, I thought I was living on the brink of Hades. I just knew I was going to Hell!
I didn’t get saved that night. I sat there like a fool. I gripped the bench until my knuckles turned white. I said, “No, Lord, not tonight. No, Lord, not tonight.” But in my heart I made up my mind on three things: I feared God; I did not want to go to Hell; someday I was going to be saved, marry a Christian girl and have a Christian family.
But not the boy beside me, not my buddy—he took an altogether different attitude toward that sermon. He stood stoically, unmoved, and in his heart said, Who is that little pipsqueak to tell me I need to be saved? Who is he to tell me I am going to Hell? I don’t like hellfire-and-brimstone preaching, and I don’t like his big Bible. I’m the captain of my own soul!
We walked out of the church together. We walked down the stairs together. We shook hands with the preacher together. We went home together after church.
Even though we remained friends, we were separate in our philosophy. In that boy’s mind he said, I don’t want anything to do with God nor with the Bible nor with salvation. But I had made up my mind that I wanted to be saved someday; I wanted to be a happy Christian someday.
Though we were still pals, we parted company philosophically.
Five years later I was saved. Six years later I was called to preach. About eight years later I married a godly Christian girl. We have godly children. The Lord fulfilled all my dreams.
About the other young man—my mother wrote me a letter one day: “Bob, did you hear about So-and-so? They found him murdered after a night of sin.”
Who are we to defy God! It is a losing battle. One day He is going to laugh in the valley of Megiddo.
2. God is going to laugh when the tears of His children are all wiped away.
Look at Luke 6:21. Then we are going to compare verses. This is a beautiful couplet. Luke 6:21 is a definite promise to you and to me.
“Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall [future tense] be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.”
Job said, “Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (5:7). This verse says, “Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall [at a future time, future tense] laugh.” When will that age of laughter come? When will that joy come? When will that bliss come?
Turn to Revelation 21:1–6:
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. [Here it is.] And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes [watch it]; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain [He is going to take away the capacity for anything sorrowful and replace it with laughter and with joy]: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done.”
I believe He means that His salvation is complete, all finished. Now the children of God are all Home with the Father. I believe He also means the plan and purpose of Almighty God have been completed. Truth has prospered over error, righteousness over sin, and right has whipped the wrong. “It is done.”
Also the battle He had with Satan is finished. Satan is now in the lake of fire, and it is “Katy, bar the door” for the Devil. Now there are a new heaven and a new earth, and all the pain and agony of the first heaven and the first earth are gone.
Hallelujah! Since there are no more pain, no more error, no more sin, no more heartache, the children of God can laugh for all eternity! Is that not precious?
When Alexander the Great had no more worlds to conquer, the story goes that he sat down and wept. But it is just the opposite with God. When He has no more worlds to conquer, no one else to save, He and the children of God, instead of weeping, are going to laugh for eternity! We may weep today, but we will laugh tomorrow!
3. God is going to laugh when wicked, blasphemous men are cast into Hell.
I am not trying to picture God as a bloodthirsty, demagogic tyrant nor as one who enslaves men and gets some kind of gory satisfaction in killing others and sending them to Hell. Our God is a God of love, a God of mercy, a God of grace, a God of patience, a God of long-suffering.
But look again at Proverbs 1:26. God is going to laugh at man’s calamity: “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.”
What is the wise man saying? Look at verse 29: “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord.” He is going to laugh at those who hated the Bible. He is going to laugh at gaudy, ugly, filthy, dirty sinners who paraded sin as something beautiful. I am talking about the Playboyites and the Penthouseites and those sex hounds who peddle illicit sex all over America. He is talking about the Madalyn Murray O’Hairs and diabolical professors like Mr. Robinson who flaunt sin and picture it as good when it is evil (Isa. 5:20). He says, “I hate it, and you have not chosen the fear of the Lord.”
Look at verse 30: “They would none of my counsel.” They would not listen to Him. “They despised all my reproof.”
There is coming a day when God Almighty is going to laugh at those who spit on the cross, walk over the blood atonement of Jesus Christ, laugh and mock at a virgin birth and a bodily resurrection of Christ.
There is coming a day when the modern-day Voltaires and Ingersolls are going to hear the laughter of God.
There is coming a day when the Hitlers, the Mussolinis, the Bloody Marys are going to hear Him laugh.
There is coming a day when Mr. Marx and Nels F. S. Ferré and all others who hated God and turned their backs upon the Bible and despised righteousness are going to hear the laughter of God as they are cast into Hell.
Two weeks ago a lady in our church handed me the most infamous article of blasphemy I have ever read.
In this article Mr. William F. Willoughby calls Jesus, first of all, “a country bumpkin from Jerusalem.” I will give you just some of the little thoughts of his sewer verbiage. He calls the resurrection of our Saviour “a tall tale.” He says, “Jesus was a little on the daffy side.” He says, “He lied about where He was born so He could say He fulfilled Micah 5:2.” He says, “He engineered His own crucifixion.” He says that one day He got together with Judas in some back room and they connived and planned it all.
He went on to say that right before the cross Jesus was given a drug to make it look like He had died, and then as He swooned on the cross, everybody thought He had died; and then in the tomb the drug wore off and He walked out.
Mr. Willoughby, someday God is going to laugh at your calamity. He is going to mock when your fear cometh.
One day, I say, God Almighty will have the last laugh.
Are you saved tonight? Do you know Christ? Are you defying Him in your Christian life? Are you rebelling against some call, some plan of God that He has for you? Please don’t do it! He will mock and laugh at your calamity.
Editor Urges You to Decide for Christ Right Now
You have read the sermon “The Day God Laughs” by Dr. Bob Kelley. God loves sinners very much and wants every one of us to be saved. The Bible says in II Peter 3:9 that He “is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” First Timothy 2:4 reminds us that He wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” But if one goes on rejecting Jesus Christ, there is coming a day when God will laugh.
Dr. Kelley has reminded you of Proverbs 1:26: “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.” What an awful thing to have God Himself laugh at our calamity!
I join with Dr. Kelley in urging you to trust Jesus Christ now so that Jesus and Heaven may rejoice over your coming to Christ.