|Volume 24 Number 3 March 2022
Three times in Scripture, God is depicted as a laughing God. How can the words “God” and “laugh” go together in any sense? God has given us all the ability to laugh. We all have a laugh that is distinctly ours. We laugh at countless people, places and things. God is not remotely in this category! The three times that God is depicted as a laughing God are in the Psalms, and the occasions are grave indeed.
The first passage that tells us what causes God to laugh is Psalm 2:1-4. David, the Psalmist, asked a very pointed question followed by a very pointed statement. He, then, revealed God’s response. “Why do the nations rage, And the people plot 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 bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision” (NKJV).
According to this passage, the people of the nations of the world vainly decide to fight against God. He laughs and holds them up to contempt, disdain and scorn! Tom Wacaster in his commentary of The Songs and Devotions of David, Volume 1, Psalms 1-24, cites these comments from W. Forsyth, Pulpit Commentary: The Book of Psalms, Volume 8. “Mark the quiet dignity of the Omnipotent One, and the contempt which he pours upon the princes and their raging people. He has not taken the trouble [to] rise up and do battle with them – he despises them, he knows how absurd, how irrational, how futile are their attempts against him – he therefore laughs at them.” Eddie Cloer in the Truth for Today Commentary, Psalms 1-50 gives this perspective. “David describes the almighty One who sits enthroned in the heavens, the true Ruler, as reacting with laughter to the plot of the nations. He laughs and scoffs at what these nations are thinking and planning (see Ps. 37:13; 59:8). …God is amused at their child’s play, laughing at their antics in divine derision.”
The second passage that tells us what causes God to laugh is Psalm 37:12-13. It declares, “The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming.” No one gets away with anything that is wrong. We are told this in language that is so clear that one would need help to misunderstand what was said. Colossians 3:23 says, “But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.” God determines what is right and what is wrong regardless of what any human being thinks, says or does! Showing favoritism to anybody for any reason is not who God is! Deuteronomy 10:17 states, “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.” The wicked have only one way out – repentance.
Tom Wacaster, in his commentary of The Songs and Devotions of David, Volume 2, Psalms 25-49, makes these observations on Psalm 37:12-13.
In great anger, and with envious hearts, the wicked would plan to overthrow the just. …It is a curious thing that the wicked simply cannot let the good man alone. This is to be the lot of the righteous, however, since it was prophesied from of old that there would be enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. …Notice Psalms 2:4 in this connection. And why does God laugh at the wicked? It is because He sees the wicked’s day of destruction. …The plans of the wicked are futile, for their calculations are based upon the assumption that God is ineffective in human affairs.
Eddie Cloer in the Truth for Today Commentary, Psalms 1-50, makes very thought-provoking statements on Psalm 37:12-13.
The wicked man may be the enemy of the righteous man. Sometimes the wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth. The evil man often takes advantage of the good man and schemes against the innocent by making plans to cheat him or rob him. His plans are sometimes vicious, as if they had the teeth of lions in them. However, the Day of Judgement for the wicked man is as sure as God’s integrity. The LORD laughs at him, for He sees his day is coming. His frail plans will pass away like thread burning in a fire. The idea that anyone could win against God is so incredulous as to be a humorous matter with God. The truth is that the prosperity of the wicked man will be short-lived. His days will rapidly come to an end.
The third and final passage that addresses what causes God to laugh is Psalm 59:7-8. It speaks of wicked transgressors. “Indeed, they belch with their mouth; Swords are in their lips; For they say, ‘Who hears?’ But You, O Lord, shall laugh at them; You shall have all the nations in derision.” Eddie Cloer, in the Truth for Today Commentary, Psalms 51-89, wrote:
They challenge God’s authority, rebelliously asking, “Who hears?” With their question, they reject the thought of any accountability for their actions or their words. They sin with impunity and without fear. The writer finds comfort in how God views them. But You, O LORD, laugh at them; You scoff at all the nations. From His holy throne in heaven, evil looks ridiculous and absurd to Him. He will see to it that evil is judged and destroyed, and that righteousness in time will be vindicated. These facts hold true for individuals and nations.
Tom Wacaster, in his commentary of The Songs and Devotions of David, Volume 3, Psalms 50-72, states:
The Psalmist was simply pointing out that there seemed to be no fear on the part of the wicked, either for man, or for God. Is it any wonder that they pour forth such wicked words? Remove the fear of God and men will live unto themselves. God does not “laugh” in the sense of expressing joy at the defeat of the wicked. The language is anthropomorphic [humanlike] and expresses the final overthrow of the wicked who have so proudly set themselves at odds with God. While they laughed at David for his apparent weakness, in the final analysis it is God Who would have the “last laugh.”
[Editor’s Note: Increasingly, Christians and other do-gooders or anyone who tries to abide by rules and laws or who exhibits personal restraint comprise an ever-lessening minority, and they are despised by the majority of people. Simply stopping at an intersection when the light changes or traveling the legal speed limit garners obscene gestures and foul language from fellow travelers whose auto race we innocently impede. “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4 KJV). In a small way, this illustration serves to depict the great divide between law abiding and lawbreaking people around the world, and more than incidentally, the Gospel of Christ is “the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). ~ Louis Rushmore]