GOD’S REMINDER: “That’s how Esau shrugged off his rights as the firstborn.” Genesis 25:34
NOTE TO SELF: You should, by now, know the story of Esau and Jacob (if not, please read Genesis 25). A simple bowl of soup in exchange for a birthright.
Esau enters the picture wanting instant gratification. He sees the soup. He’s hungry. He acts desperate for food. “I’m starving,” he says so dramatically (v. 30). Jacob uses this opportunity to his own advantage. “If you’re so hungry and want this stew so badly, then forfeit your birthright in exchange,” Jacob replies. And Esau obliges.
Before I read this yesterday, I asked God why we prayed if we wouldn’t see our prayers being answered. And God used this scripture to teach me that our prayers are not intended for instant gratification. If that were the case, we’d ask for ice cream to fall from the sky every day (wouldn’t you?). And like the Israelites who ate bread from the sky (manna), they got sick of it, as would we with ice cream.
Esau wasn’t “starving.” He was probably very, very hungry no doubt. But enough to give up everything? It was all he could think about: food, food, food. Give me, give me, give me!! I’ll do anything! How often do we act like that? How often do we demand that God serve us fast food answers to our prayers?
If we received instant gratification when it came to praying, God would become a clown head with a microphone in his mouth, not God. Our prayers sometimes not being answered makes us become reliant on God. It makes us think about our prayers more intently, more reasonably. After several prayers of the same request, it begins to intensify and burn within us. We become eager in anticipation for God to move. It becomes personal.