SCRAPING THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL Andy Hollifield 2-28-19
1 Kings 17:16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord which he spake by Elijah.
If you have lived very long at all, at some point you have probably experienced firsthand what it is to “scrape by.” Just to barely make it. To be in a place or situation where if just one thing went wrong, it would have unusually devastating consequences. If you look at this scripture in 1 Kings 17, you will find a lady that is literally scraping by. As a matter of fact, she is to the point where the next time she scrapes will be her last. She is gathering two sticks to build a fire to bake a small cake of bread with the last bit of meal and oil that she has. She would then be out of everything and after eating, her only plan was for her and her son to sit and wait for starvation to take their lives. That would be a miserable existence wouldn’t it?
As if her plight wasn’t already desperate enough, then she has the prophet, which was likely unknown to her, asking her to fix him a cake of the last meal and oil she had, before she fixed for her and her son. Have you ever had someone to say something stupid to you when you were already frustrated enough about something? I would imagine that may have been how this lady felt. The phrase “As the Lord thy God liveth,” is a strong statement I believe expressing her displeasure at him saying such a thing. That would be about as aggravating as trying to unlock a car door with a Slim Jim device and some genius come up, after you have worked on it for 15 minutes in the heat or cold, and say, “I bet if you could get ahold of the door handle with that thing it would pop right open.” Believe me, that makes you want to wring somebody’s neck when that happens. And that’s only your second thought. The first one may even involve something that would be inappropriate to say. You get my point?
It goes against our fleshly nature but in times like that in life, is a perfect time to trust God and see what he will do. David said in Psalms 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” We really key on the last phrase and it is a great blessing. The greater joy in that verse is that in all of his years, he has never seen the righteous forsaken. Have you ever thought about what that means? Did you realize that the word “forsake” only has two definitions? The first is “to quit or leave entirely; abandon, desert.” The second is “to give up or renounce.” David was saying that in all of his years and all he had been through, he had never seen the time when God abandoned anyone. He had never seen God give up on anybody and also had never seen God let his people do without and have to beg. David had seen the time in his younger days, when he was so hungry he even ate the bread in the temple. While that may seem like it was disrespecting the house of God, look at it like this: God knew that David was hungry and he invited him to his house to eat. God provided when David was without hope.
Matthew 6 talks about God supplying all of our needs as does Philippians 4:19. It says “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” It didn’t say he would consider your situation and get back to you or that you should receive what you need in seven to ten business days. It said “God shall.” He didn’t say he might or if you qualify, he said if you need it he will supply it.
Well, since we will never be forsaken or abandoned or deserted by God, and he will always feed us; why is it that we have so much trouble believing God when we are scraping the bottom of the barrel? You may need whatever you need now and since there is no limit to heaven’s riches and Jesus already paid the price for everything we will ever need, why do we get down so easy when we are scraping the bottom of the barrel? Let me share a thought with you on the meal barrel. I personally don’t believe that God ever filled that meal barrel or cruse of oil. What I do believe is that when meal time came, that widow would walk to the barrel, turn it up on edge and shake it a little, and scrape that last little bit from the bottom. And that oil, I believe there was only a few drops left in that cruse. But, I also believe when she started pouring that meal in a bowl along with that oil, there was always just enough for what she needed. If God had of filled the barrel or cruse for her, it wouldn’t have taken any faith to go back time after time. I personally think that she may have walked by that barrel and looked in and saw a bunch of nothing and turned that cruse upside down and not a drop came out. But when it was time to cook, I believe she always found just enough to get by for that meal. That’s just some Andyology but it takes a lot more faith to go back when you know it is empty than it does when you know it is full.
So what about you? You’ve scraped your barrel and your gathering sticks preparing to do without. You just can’t make it and you can figure the checkbook and it just ain’t there. Why don’t you go look again? Yeah you know it was empty the last time but just go look again. When you have a need, just look one more time. When have you ever known God to let you do without? When was the last time you ran out and you were done? If we are honest about it with ourselves, we haven’t. When we have went back and looked one more time it has always been there. Not in abundance maybe, but always enough. God didn’t tell Paul that his grace was abundant in 2 Corinthians 12:9, he told him it was “sufficient.” Do you know what that word means? It means “enough.” Not all you will ever need but all you need right now. It will always be enough. Just go on back and look one more time and scrape the bottom of the barrel again. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!