JOYOUS LAUGHTER OF THE AGES


William Andrew Dillard

Often in the ancient languages, new words were coined from sounds. Such are recognized today as onomatopoeic, or mimicking words. This was the case in the naming of the first woman, our mother Eve, whose name in Hebrew was Havvah, coined from the sound of inhaling and exhaling. It is also true in the case of the patriarch, Isaac.
I recently surprised some friends who offered me a Snicker candy bar by stating, “This is a scriptural candy bar.” “What on earth do you mean?” was the reply. I answered, “When the Lord promised Abraham and Sarah a son in their very old age, she snickered.” The comment opened an interesting conversation.
Revisiting the Genesis story, Abraham was approaching 100 years of age; Sarah was approaching eighty-five years of age. Ishmael had already been born years earlier to Abraham and Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid. Offered to God as Abraham’s heir, he was rejected of the Lord. The heir would be the promised son born to both Abraham and Sarah. Now, at their advanced age, the very idea that the couple should have a conjugal relationship, even more, that conception and birth should occur to one whose cycles of life had long ceased was overwhelming. Sarah snickered! But, not out of unbelief that God could make it happen, but at the very prospect of she and her husband having such pleasure once again, and it resulting in a child.
Consequently, when the male child was born to them, Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was eighty-five years old. They remembered their overwhelming reaction to the prospect, and named him with a new word that mimicked the sound of laughter: “Isac, sac, sac;” hence, Isaac (Laughter).
Today, when we consider the wonder of the myriad promises God has given to us: some fulfilled, others coming soon, we laugh at such blessings: from the provision of the Redeemer, to the wonder of the new birth, to the prospects of resurrection, to living in the millennium in an immortal body; to the sight of universal cataclysm, to witnessing a new universe created; to seeing and enjoying the New Jerusalem, but most of all getting to spend eternity with the altogether Wonderful, Only Begotten Son of God, we laugh! Not a laughter of doubt or skepticism, but a laughter of overwhelming wonder at the prospect of it all happening to us….and…we think of Abraham, and Sarah, and Isaac, their important son of laughter…and we laugh with sheer joy, again, a laughter that reverberates through the ages!

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