There is a word that we use often to denote the negative. It is 'Not'. It has also been used in a comical manner to make a point. Like, I am the most handsome guy here ... NOT! You all seemed to agree with that statement too quickly.
We find the word used three different ways in our passage this morning: "Have Not", "Fear Not", and "Waste Not". I want us to consider each of them and what they mean to us today.
I. Background Information
A. The Drought in Israel.
1. Elijah had brought the Word of the Lord to Ahab in v1.
2. No rain nor dew for as judgment against their wickedness.
B. The Provision for Elijah.
1. First it had been by the ravens near the brook Cherith.
2. Then God dried up the brook and sent him to Zarephath.
3. He told him that a widow woman would sustain him there.
C. The Widow Thought She Was Going to Die.
1. There was a famine in the land since the rain had been withheld.
2. She and her sons were almost out of food...but
3. God changed this widow's negatives into positives.
a. He moved her from poverty to plenty
b. He brought her from anxiety to assurance
c. Elijah came from Cherith with help from God
II. Consider the "Not's" of this passage.
A. "I Have Not" (vv. 8-12)
1. This widow was a woman of faith.
2. God was able to communicate with her.
3. He had commanded her to sustain Elijah. V9
a. She had been expecting Elijah, but..
b. What would be expected of her?
c. I am sure that she must have had some questions concerning what God had commanded her to do.
4. Elijah arrived thirsty and hungry
a. "Fetch me ... a little water"
b. What a relief, he might have asked for food!
c. "Bring me a morsel of bread"
5. She begins to explain her situation to Elijah. V12
a. "I have not a cake"
b. Depression moves in...
c. She sees only death ahead...
6. Focus on what you don't have and depression will follow
a. She had a handful of meal and a little oil
b. It wasn't much, as a matter of fact, it was all that she had.
c. Remember that little is much when God is in it.
d. God took a little boy and brought down a giant.
e. Jesus took a few fishes and loaves and fed the multitudes.
f. What do you have that God can use?
B. "Fear Not" (v. 13)
1. Fear is common to all
2. Fear was the first evidence of the fall
(GEN 3:10) "AND HE SAID, I HEARD THY VOICE IN THE GARDEN, AND I WAS AFRAID, BECAUSE I WAS NAKED; AND I HID MYSELF."
3. So many kinds of fears may beset us
a. Fears about our families
b. Fears about health
c. Fears about money
d. Fears about the future
4. Elijah's advice to the worried widow
a. She was to make that cake: do the routine things
b. But first, she was to make a cake for him
c. Here is the principle: put God first in our lives.
(MAT 6:33) "BUT SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS; AND ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU."
d. In giving God priority, we can overcome our fears.
C. "The Barrel of Meal Wasted Not" (vv. 14- 16)
1. Things turned out better than the widow expected.
a. Plenty of meal and oil.
b. Guaranteed until the drought was over.
c. What God promises we can count on.
2. We have all feared things that didn't happen
3. The widow put God's will first and He provided for her
III. Lessons to be Learned.
A. We are to believe God's promises regardless of the circumstances. v12
B. God's promises are intended to remove fear from our lives. v13
C. Believing God's promises may seem to involve some personal risk. v15
D. When we live by faith in His promises, God will always supply. v16.
Are we trusting His promises today? He promises eternal life for all who will believe in Him. He promises a home in heaven for eternity. He promises to provide and take care of us every step of the way. Are we trusting Him today or are we tied up in "not's"? Are fears robbing us of the joy of living? We need to trade our fears for faith. We need to give Christ first place in our lives. His promises will not fail. Don't focus on the have not's, just fear not and God's provision will waste not.