‘I didn’t laugh’ is perhaps Sarah’s most well known statement, or perhaps we should say lie for accuracy’s sake. She lied because the Word God had just spoken was too ridiculous for words. Who had ever heard of someone her age having a child? But there is more to these words then we realise. I don’t think her laughter was of doubt alone, mixed within it was the unthought-of possibility that what God had said was true, and so she laughed as her heart grasped the wondrous possibility before her.
Sarah is not the only one in the Bible who thought that what God had said was almost too good to be true. There is Cleopas and his friend walking to Emmaus on the evening of that first Easter Sunday whose hearts burned within them as Jesus told them what the Bible said about him. There is the escapee crown prince who did not want to return to Egypt to lead Israel out from slavery into freedom but who went all the same. Or there is the persecutor of Christians on his way to Damascus who suddenly had his whole world turned upside down and inside out as he heard Jesus speak to him.
When God speaks to us he doesn’t do it by half. When he speaks to us he speaks to our minds and he burns it onto our hearts and souls too.
Sarah, Cleopas, Moses, Saul, and like so many others in the Bible, were truly sentimental. What I mean by this is not that they were either weak willed or feeble minded. Instead, sentimental reflects the way they were not only moved in their heads by what God had said but also how their hearts and souls had been moved too. Once they’d heard the living voice of God they could never return to the ways things had once been. There was no turning back as everything had changed.
As we ‘Eat this Book’, we are to do so as sentimentally as possible. We know what it means to read with our heads, but to ‘Eat this Book’ points us to a complementary path we are to learn to walk on. This path urges us to learn to read using our hearts and our souls too. To ‘Eat this Book’ is for God’s Words to penetrate to the very depths of who we are turning our whole world upside down and inside out.
Now that is a sentiment worth pursuing.