Pony, interesting discussion over dinner yesterday! I have one suggestion:
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? (Gen 17:17)
We can safely say that “fell upon his face” is not a sign of unbelief or disrespect, in fact it means otherwise:
And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. (Gen 50:1)
And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face (Num 16:4)
The problem then seems to be “laughed” and “said in his heart,” the former being unbelief, and the latter possibly murmurings. (Which gives a new meaning to the condition of heart-murmur)
Hmm… almost after Abraham laughed, Sarah laughed too- and God disapproved of it:
Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. (Gen18:12-15)
Hmm it does seem that God choose to disregard Abraham’s laugh but confronted Sarah for laughing.
It seems to suggest laughter of two essentially different nature, do you think so? :)