No Laughing Matter

No Laughing MatterText: James 4:9

In our text, James contrasted two different attitudes people have toward God – one was careless joy, the other was sober humility. The phrase “no laughing matter” is used in response to someone who takes a light-hearted approach to a serious matter. This lesson will consider five examples of this in the Bible and what all of them have in common.

Sarah Laughed at the Promise of a Son (Genesis 18:9-15)

  • Her skepticism was understandable (Genesis 18:11-12; 17:17)
  • However, the promise was given to Abraham prior to this (Genesis 17:15-21) – so she likely heard of this
  • Here, Abraham and Sarah had different reactions (Genesis 18:12)
  • Sarah was ashamed of her reaction and denied laughing (Genesis 18:15)

Lot’s Sons-in-Law Thought He Was Jesting about the City’s Destruction (Genesis 19:12-14)

  • This may have seemed unbelievable
  • However, they just witnessed the attack on Lot’s house and the men stricken blind (Genesis 19:4-11)
  • Lot “went out” to them (Genesis 19:14) – implied they were either part of the mob or at least witnessed all of this
  • Despite their relationship with Lot’s daughters, they were unwilling to side with him

The Tribes Mocked the Thought of Reinstituting the Passover (2 Chronicles 30:1, 5-11)

  • The Passover had been neglected (2 Chronicles 30:5)
  • However, this was part of God’s law (Deuteronomy 16:1-3) – should have been observed
  • This was to be done to enjoy God’s favor (2 Chronicles 30:6-9)
  • Yet the majority rejected this invitation (2 Chronicles 30:10-11)

The People Mocked the Warning about Captivity (2 Chronicles 36:15-16)

  • The Jews were God’s people (Deuteronomy 7:6) and Jerusalem was His city (Deuteronomy 12:5)
  • However, the sequence of events leading to captivity had already started (2 Chronicles 36:5-7; 9-10)
  • God, in His compassion, warned about Babylon coming (2 Chronicles 36:15)
  • Yet they had already rejected God (2 Chronicles 36:11-14) – therefore, they would not listen

The People Laughed at Jesus for Saying Jairus’ Daughter Was Only Asleep (Luke 8:41-42, 49-53)

  • The condition of his daughter may have seemed hopeless (Luke 8:42)
  • However, Jesus had shown His ability to perform miracles (Luke 8:39-40; cf. John 5:36; Acts 2:22)
  • Jesus spoke of death as temporary (cf. John 5:28-29; 11:11, 13)
  • They did not have this concept

Everything That Was Laughed at Came to Pass

  • Sarah had a son (Genesis 21:1-5)
  • Sodom was destroyed (Genesis 19:23-25)
  • The Passover was reinstituted (2 Chronicles 30:13, 15)
  • Jerusalem was conquered (2 Chronicles 36:17-21)
  • Jairus’ daughter was raised (Luke 8:54-55)

What These Examples Have in Common

  • All of these examples were of people who lacked faith in God and His word
  • These were written for our learning (Romans 15:4)
  • We need to have faith in God – believe God’s promises, heed God’s warnings, obey God’s word

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