Instantaneous Gratification - A Bowl of Beef Stew

Instantaneous Gratification – Are You Just Settling?

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We all love instantaneous gratification, don’t we? We like things right now! We are a society that can access information in an instant! We can place an order on Amazon right from the comfort of our living room and have it delivered at lightning speed (and it’s only going to get faster)!

I get it! I am a huge Amazon fan for that very reason! It is awesome when you need something fast and can get it!

But is instantaneous gratification always a good thing? No, not always!

Instantaneous Gratification - A Bowl of Beef Stew

Biblical Example of Instantaneous Gratification

The Bible gives us a textbook example of the dangers of instantaneous 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 literally fighting each other since the womb!

“And the children struggled together within her; 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; the one people shall be stronger than the other people; the elder shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:22-23 KJV

The Bible tells us that Esau was a very skilled hunterInstantaneous Gratification - Are You Just Settling? 2 and a man of the field and Jacob, well Genesis 25: 27 tells us

“…Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.” KJV

One day, Esau comes back from a huntingInstantaneous Gratification - Are You Just Settling? 3 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 the words 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 but one could assume he was tired and run down from hunger since he sought food.

So Jacob, being the loving brother he is (insert sarcasm here…) says in Genesis 25:31:

“Sell me this day thy birthright.”

Instantaneous Gratification in a Bowl of Stew

Seems a steep price to pay for a bowlInstantaneous Gratification - Are You Just Settling? 4 of stew, doesn’t it? A birthright for one meal?

But rather than Esau telling his brother to go pound sandInstantaneous Gratification - Are You Just Settling? 5 and running in to see Mom for a sandwichInstantaneous Gratification - Are You Just Settling? 6, Esau says, in Genesis 25:32:

Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?” KJV

Now, I am guessing here that Esau was being a bit melodramatic. He was probably not at the point of death at all. Oh, it may have felt that way! I have been pretty hangryInstantaneous Gratification - Are You Just Settling? 7 before and it can definitely 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 BibleInstantaneous Gratification - Are You Just Settling? 8 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 instantaneous 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 bowlInstantaneous Gratification - Are You Just Settling? 9 of stew. He allowed his physical discomfort to distort his sense of need. He allowed his flesh to make a decision that would alter his life. 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.

The Dangers of Instantaneous Gratification

The problem with instantaneous 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. We realize we settled in many cases. 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, as soon as his need was met, he realized just what he gave up to get it and it paled in comparison. He probably lived with that regret for quite some time.

Regret seems a steep price to pay to satisfy our flesh in the moment.

If we receive instantaneous gratification often enough, we can easily lose the willingness to wait on God and for what He has for us. 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. In essence, we 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; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 KJV


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Instantaneous Gratification - Are You Just Settling? 10

28 thoughts on “Instantaneous Gratification – Are You Just Settling?”

  1. Glad to see someone addressing this instant gratification issue. Everything is throw away, replace. Have to have the latest and greatest. Root of many problems.

  2. I love this!! Esau was definitely hangry 😉

    And I absolutely agree – so often in life, instant gratification is immediately followed by regret. Good spiritual truth <3

  3. This is something I’m always trying to talk to my kids about. Not taking the time to think through the consequences or even what the best solution is rather than anything that comes to mind.

  4. “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.” So true! That we would remember that.

  5. this is such a great read, with our culture of speed, we get caught up into the mentality of wanting everything RIGHT NOW without a thought on what we could be sacrificing to get that instant gratification. thanks for sharing this word.

  6. Diane, I enjoyed this post. We just went over this exact story of Jacob and Esau in Sunday School. It definitely makes us rethink the way that we look at things that we desire with our flesh, and what it may cost us. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. And I was just praying about a longing I’d really like to find a way to meet NOW. But God. Timely, sound message for me. Thank you!

  8. What a great post! Waiting can be difficult, but throwing away God’s best for a bowl of stew is folly. Oh, that I would have the fortitude to wait for His answers and direction! Your neighbor at Tune in Thursday, Tammy

  9. Thanks so much for this reminder, Dianne. We must walk in the Spirit and bring the flesh under subjection; and God helping us, we can.
    Blessings to you!

  10. Feelings….ah, feelings. There are so many times when we simply need to push past the fickleness of them and the falsity they wear. And funny enough, Diane, I hadn’t connected feelings with waiting/patience Sounds odd, right? But true. Love this post. I’ll be pinning it. #faithonfire

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