The Chuckle of Faith


“Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.  
—Genesis 15:5-6

Abraham didn’t sleep in on the day he was to take his beloved son, his only son, to Moriah, kill him and offer him as an ascension. He got up early. By this stage in the narrative, Abraham had been tried and tested many times, but this seems just a little too keen.

Abraham told his servants that both he and the boy would return. He believed, without a shadow of turning, God’s promise concerning an inheritance. Sarai laughed concerning her miraculous conception (Isaac means laughter). It was the scornful chuckle of unbelief, and she was caught out. Perhaps, here, after this crazy command from God, Abraham also laughed. But it was the chuckle of faith. [1]

The chuckle of faith comes from an experience of God’s complete faithfulness in the past that leads to a knowing, twinkle-eyed, obedience. Outwardly, it says, “OK, Lord.” Inwardly, it says, “I can’t wait to see how He gets Himself and us out of this one, and remains faithful.”

It is possibly the response of Moses caught between a rock and a hard place at the seashore. “Moses, you brought us out here to die!” is the cry of the people. By this point, Moses had seen enough to know something pretty cool was about to happen.

It was the response of Daniel’s three friends as they defied Nebuchadnezzar and the local ministers’ association. There is a God in heaven who can save us from the flames if He wills, but even if he doesn’t, we won’t bow down.

The chuckle of faith is prophetic. It knows the future because it has seen the ways of God in the past. Modern Christians are unable to chuckle because gutless men preach HOPE and CHANGE without an understanding of God’s clockwork-Covenant ways. [2] 

Hebrews 11, the chuckle-of-faith chapter, gives us a list of those who stopped the mouths of lions with a chuckle, and those who patiently kept preaching the truth knowing that they were going to be brutally sawn in half. I doubt they were chuckling when this happened, but they delighted in the ways of God and trusted Him for the future. It is grossly, deliciously, irresponsible to the eyes of the world. [3]

When you lose your job, or discover you have cancer, or can’t have children, or find you have been betrayed, or your family despises your Christianity, or have to struggle for years with a compulsive sin… don’t laugh like Sarai. Think of Abraham and his promised son Laughter, and get up early to obey the impossible command.

The Lord honours the chuckle of faith because it comes from a far-sighted trust in His character. This delights Him as it does any good dad.

[1] A cool phrase stolen from Doug Wilson.
[2] If they do preach the Ethics of the Covenant, it is without the preceding Transcendence (an anchor in God’s character and power) and Hierarchy, (an anchor in the history of the saints) and without the inevitable arrival of blessings for the faithful and curses for the rebellious. See A Jaw-Dropping Book and also Peter Leithart’s Exhortation, May 9, 2004 on a prophet’s understanding of God and His plot devices.
[3] When the Lord’s justice finally arrives to vindicate the martyrs, they chuckle the way James Jordan does in his lectures when the enemies of God are massacred. Then they write a song about it.

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