Through the Bible in One Year

Day 108

Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,

but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

What exactly is Solomon talking about here in this somewhat strange, weird and odd proverb?  What does he mean when he says a “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life?”  The answer to that should be obvious, Solomon is talking about instant gratification.  Which should lead us to ask ourselves an all important question: Is instant gratification good for us?  Unfortunately the answer to that question is far from simple because it could be either yes or no depending on the circumstances surrounding what it is we want to be instantly gratified with.

What we must bear in mind here is that Solomon is not saying that instant gratification is good for us nor is he saying that instant gratification is bad for us.  But what then is he actually saying?  He is making a general observation on life that a legitimate longing that is delayed indefinitely grows wearisome.  People naturally tire of persistently unmet expectations, but proverbs that offer general observations SHOULD NOT BE ACCEPTED AS ABSOLUTE PRINCIPLES TO BE APPLIED IN EVERY SITUATION.  We must remember that instant gratification, when satisfying an inappropriate desire or feeding an impatient attitude, is detrimental to your character.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

Joshua 21:1-22:20, Luke 20:1-26, Psalm 89:1-13 and Proverbs 13:15-16

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