We all love instant gratification, don’t we? We like things now! We are a microwave society and, I don’t know about you but I hate waiting!
But is instant gratification a good thing? Not always!
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Biblical Example of Instant Gratification
The Bible gives us a classic example of the dangers of instant gratification. It can be found in the story of our old friend Jacob and his brother, Esau.
Jacob and Esau
Jacob and Esau were brothers, the sons of Issac and Rebekah. They were twins and had been fighting each other since the womb!
“And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord.
And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:22-23 KJV
Esau was a very skilled hunter and a man of the field and Jacob, well the Bible tells us in Genesis 25: 27
“…Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.” KJV
One day, Esau comes back from a hunting trip and he is tired and hungry! He spots some stew that Jacob had made and he asks for a bowl. Genesis 25:30:
“And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint…”
Some translations use exhausted, famished. The Hebrew word for “faint” is ‘ayeph and the meaning is faint or weary. Basically, he was tired. I find it funny that he did not mention hungry. He merely said he was tired.
So Jacob, being the loving brother he is (insert sarcasm here…) says in Genesis 25:31:
“Sell me this day thy birthright.”
Seems a steep price to pay for a bowl of stew!
But rather than Esau telling his brother to go pound sand and running in to see Mom for a sandwich, Esau says, in Genesis 25:32:
“Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?”
Now…I am guessing here that Esau was being a bit melodramatic. He was not at the point of death. It may have felt that way…I have been pretty hangry before and it can feel that way! But recall, when he asked for the stew he didn’t even mention hunger. He didn’t say he was starving to death. He merely said he was tired. Now all of a sudden he is at death’s door.
So he sells his birthright for a bowl of stew.
The Bible tells us then that Esau despised his birthright. The Hebrew word used here is bazah and means to hold in contempt, to be worthless. He saw everything his birthright afforded him now and in the future, worthless because of momentary hunger.
He sold his birthright for instant gratification.
Giving Up Too Soon
How many times do we FEEL like we are just going to die if we don’t get what we want?
As I said, Esau wasn’t starving to death. He probably just FELT that way. But feelings lie! The enemy uses feelings to get us to move away from God’s will in our situation.
Esau was willing to give up everything just for a bowl of stew. He allowed his physical discomfort to distort his sense of need. At that moment, he felt like all the blessings in the world would be useless if he were dead.
What are we willing to give up to meet our immediate need? What do we sacrifice in order to fulfill the NOW?
How do we allow fear to override faith in our circumstances?
I have done it. We all have done it at one time or another.
Dangers of Instant Gratification
The problem with instant gratification is it often comes with regret. Once we get what we wanted we soon realize the extent of what we gave up to get it. It could be what we gave up was something of great value or it could be that we gave up our peace.
Esau, I am sure, likely ate his stew and soon regretted what he gave up for it. He probably lived with that regret for quite some time.
Regret seems a steep price to pay to satisfy our flesh in the moment.Regret seems a steep price to pay to satisfy our flesh in the moment.Click To Tweet
If we receive instant gratification often enough, we lose the ability to be patient. We lose the ability to manage expectations because we want what we want when we want it.
We become driven by our flesh and its wants, rather than by the Spirit. We, in essence, remove God from the situation.
Rather than praying about something and seeking God’s will in the situation, we make the decision in a moment based on the lusts of the flesh.
What blessings of God are we robbing ourselves of, what blessings are we giving up, by settling for stew?
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31What blessings of God are we robbing ourselves of, what blessings are we giving up, by settling for stew?Click To Tweet
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