Jeremiah 18:1-2, “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: ‘Arise and go down to the potter’s house and there I will cause you to hear My words.”
One day the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah and instructed him to go to the potter’s house. God did not instruct Jeremiah to go and see the mastery with which the potter fashioned clay, He did not instruct Jeremiah to go and see the process, by which a lump of clay became a vessel, but rather to go and hear His words. Jeremiah went to the potter’s house to hear the words of God, not to see a man molding clay. God wanted to teach Jeremiah certain truths, and today I wanted to discuss these truths that Jeremiah learned by visiting the potter’s house, if only briefly.
The first lesson that Jeremiah learned while at the potter’s house, was that of the absolute sovereignty of God. God is sovereign!
As Jeremiah beheld the potter at his wheel, and beheld the vessel that he had made become ruined, as he watched the potter take the selfsame lump of clay and make it again into another vessel, the Lord asked a truly profound question.
Jeremiah 18:6, “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?’ says the Lord. ‘Look as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.”
Just as the potter is sovereign over the clay that he molds, God is sovereign over His creation. When the potter sets about making a vessel out of the clay in his hands, the clay cannot demand anything of the potter. The clay cannot ask to be a bowl, a cup, a pitcher or a tray, the clay is simply at the potter’s discretion, and the potter does with it what he wills.
If there is veracity in the songs we sing, if indeed He is the potter and we are the clay, then how is it that so many today seem to demand of God rather than submit to Him? How is it that countless souls stand before a sovereign God, and begin to dictate terms to Him rather than simply obey, and yield to His molding and chiseling?
Our doctrine has become such that whenever the Potter attempts to mold us, whenever the Potter takes us in His hands and begins to form us, we bristle and resist, we defy and refuse to go along with that which He desires to mold us into, all the while forgetting that all we are, are lumps of clay.
Isaiah 45:9, “Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘what are you making?’ Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands?’”
Not only does the clay ask the Potter ‘what are you making?’ nowadays, but the clay goes one step further and demands that it be made into something else, something of its choosing.
‘I want to be prosperous, and handsome, and beautiful, and acne free, I want to have a big house and a nice car, and maybe a boat, that’s what I want You to mold me into, if not, then no deal!’
We have so distorted the relationship between Potter and clay, that there are even some calling themselves children of God, who teach that they are in fact little Potters, creators in their own right, no longer subject to the molding of the Great Potter, but having achieved the status of creators on a miniature scale.
Isaiah 29:16, “Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; for shall the thing made say of him who made it, ‘he did not make me?’ or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, ‘he has no understanding?’”
To anyone still under the misconception that we are little gods, sorry to burst your bubble, but we are nothing more than lumps of clay into which God in His sovereign mercy breathed life. It is God that molds us, it is God that forms us into what He desires us to become.
The second lesson Jeremiah learned while at the potter’s house, was the lesson of becoming. When the Potter takes a lump of clay and puts it on the wheel, it is with the specific intent that the lump of clay becomes a vessel. The Potter fashions the clay, he molds it in His hands knowing full well that the clay is becoming something other than what it was.
We are all being fashioned; we are all becoming, and just as a potter must press down upon the clay in order to give it its form, the Great Potter sometimes presses down upon us to form us into the vessel He desires us to be. Whenever God presses down on us, it is not toward out detriment but toward our benefit. He presses down on us because He is molding us, He is molding us because we are becoming, and what we are becoming is something that only He knows. We trust the Great Potter, because we know that His desire is to make vessels of honor. We trust the Great Potter because He takes the time to mold us, individually so, forming us into His image and likeness.
Throughout the Word we see how God has formed His vessels; we see the pressing down, the chiseling that took place before they could be used of God, before they could shine like the sun and bring glory to His name. From Joseph to Job, from David to Daniel, we see how heavily God pressed down on them that they might be made into the vessel God desired them to be.
The third and final lesson Jeremiah learned while at the potter’s house, was the lesson of resistance.
Jeremiah 18:4, “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.”
Although it was just clay, something in that lump of clay resisted the potter’s first try, and the vessel that he made out of the lump of clay was ruined in the hand of the potter. No matter how much the potter pressed down, no matter how much the potter formed it, something in the lump of clay would not yield, it resisted the molding of the potter until it was ruined. If there are setbacks in our lives, it is not because God was impotent; it is because we resisted Him until we were ruined. So often we resist the plan of God, we resist the molding of God, and due to our resistance God just takes another lump of clay and begins to fashion a new vessel.
God is the potter, and we are His clay. He is sovereign and it is by His design that we are fashioned into the vessels we are becoming. A wise man does not resist the molding and the fashioning, he simply submits to it, knowing that the finished product will be something beyond his comprehension.
All men are molded, and if we resist God molding us and forming us into His image, the world will be more than happy to mold us and form us in its image.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.