Anyone who has had the privilege, or curse of knowing me for long knows I have somewhat of a twisted sense of humor. I can find funny things sometimes in the most mundane of situations. For example, the New Testament records for us a story of Paul who brings a man back to life after the young man falls from the wall at the place where Paul is preaching-a miracle indeed. Most will read this story as God using Paul to perform a miracle that gives credibility to Paul’s mission, but not me. This is how I read the story with my twisted mind. In Acts chapter 20 a young man named Eutychus (Greek, meaning good luck) is sitting on a wall as Paul preaches. Specifically, scripture says “as Paul went on and on”. If you’ve ever been in a southern tent meeting, you know what “on and on” means. Paul literally preaches the young man to sleep, at which time he falls from the wall and dies, perhaps the origin of our phrase “bored to death”? In any event, Paul sees the situation, lays over him and miraculously brings the young man back to life, and goes on preaching as scripture records until dawn! I can imagine here the young man thinking to himself, ala Jim Carey, “aren’t I the lucky one (again, his name means good luck)”. Yes I know, a sacrilegious perception at the very least-I just think God has a sense of humor not unlike mine!
As New Testament Christians we tend to grab our Bible and proceed to the Gospels or the Letters in our devotions-I’m guilty too. But the Old Testament is full of nuggets that many of us miss. Besides being rich in historical recordings that are confirmed in other ancient texts, there is a bevy of humor for us who are sensitive challenged. One of the funnier but never preached on stories of the Old Testament is found in 1 Samuel 5-6. The Philistines have taken the Ark of the Covenant. We all know how seriously God treated the handling of His Ark. They take it back and set it in the temple of one of their gods, Dagon. In fact they place the Ark right next to the statue of Dagon, a bold and brazen move. The next morning when their priests arrive and enter the temple they find the statue of Dagon lying face down before the Ark, as in worship. I think that’s funny. Anyway they set the statue of Dagon back on its perch. The next morning they come in and find the same thing, Dagon lying before the Ark but this time, its head and hands have been broken off and are laying to the side. God could easily have destroyed the image by fire or crumbled it into hundreds of pieces, but instead He placed him face down before the Ark as a sign of reverence in a playful display.
Because the Philistines were mistreating the sacred Ark that they should not be possession of in the first place, God smites them with a smitey smite! Bloody water, no; grasshoppers and locusts, no; weeks of darkness, no. God’s punishment of choice, Hemorrhoids! Translated texts use the word tumor because it is less explicit but earlier translations use the word “emerods”, which has been concluded to mean hemorrhoids. “Emerods in their inner places”, as recorded, is much more descriptive to the twisted minds of Biblical scholars. Can the story get more funny, you bet. Consumed by their burning punishment and well before the invention of Preparation H, they appeal to God as to how to be relieved from their suffering.
At this point those with a weak constitution may choose to stop reading as the cure is as painful (and I might add gross) as the affliction. The remedy-God demanded five gold plated emerods! Gold was the currency of the day. Someone had to take five hemorrhoids and cast them in gold as a sacrifice to God. So I have to ask myself the obvious question that few would ponder, again because that’s just the way I’m wired. Who would be the least fortunate, the person chosen to collect and cast these hemorrhoids in gold, or the unlucky soul who, with no anesthesia had to offer them up? Say about me what you will-I see that God has a funny and twisted side to Him just like me. After all, He accepted me as one of His kids so He can’t be all there, right?
Seriously, God is to be reverenced and worshiped for His Deity as we do each week together or in our individual time alone with Him. But it’s ok to laugh at the thought of some of God’s recorded antics as proof of His lighter side. Maybe George Burns or Morgan Freeman’s depictions of God in their respective films Oh God and Bruce Almighty aren’t so far off. Maybe there is a time to worship Him in solemnness and reflection as well as a time to laugh about Him in a celebration of mirth.
Or just maybe the funny side of God can only be revealed to the simple twisted minds of a few like me.