Photo by Quino Al
Then the word of the LORD came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.” Jeremiah 18:5-6
God sends Jeremiah to the potter’s house and tells him to wait for the message. Jeremiah spends some time in the potter’s house watching him make different pots. As Jeremiah is watching, God speaks to him and uses the imagery of the potter with clay. He tells Israel that they were the clay and He was the potter. Meaning He could do whatever He wanted with them and could shape them whichever way He wished since He was the potter.
We are in the potter’s hand
Like clay in the hands of the potter, so are we in God’s hand. The potter’s house for us is the different circumstances we find ourselves in. I remember God giving me a word for someone and telling me, I’m bending, stretching, pulling, and breaking them until they become what I desire them to be in my hands. It was the same imagery that God gives to Jeremiah in chapter 18.
God will often put us in situations that would bend us; others will stretch us. We will feel like we are being pulled and sometimes we will find ourselves feeling like God is breaking us. All these seasons are important in order for God to form us into the pots He has intended for His purposes.
We don’t get to ask or dictate what God can make out of us, our job is to submit ourselves to the potter’s hand and allow Him to do what only He can do.
He shapes us into what seems best
And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hands, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Jeremiah 18:4
NLT says… But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.
Ouch! Sometimes we don’t become what God intended. So, He has to crush us into a lump of clay again and begin reshaping us into a different vessel.
For instance, Israel had become marred in God’s hands because of their disobedience. They didn’t become the vessels that God wanted them to be. In this chapter, He is telling them that He is going to put them in a situation that will begin a reworking until they become another vessel that God could use.
From this verse, it is clear that there are things that can interfere with God’s purposes for our lives. And when there are interferences God can reshape us into another vessel that He can still use. We never have to worry about ruining God’s plans. God will keep reworking us and our situations until we become what we need to be. If plan A doesn’t work, God has a plan B. The potter isn’t limited, when He looks at a lump of clay He knows exactly what He wants to make out of it.
This also gives the idea that we don’t get to choose the kind of vessels we become, that is up to God. Sometimes we say, “ I don’t like what you have made me into, I want to be like that pot. I wish I could sing like that pot or God I wish I looked like that pot”. We tell the potter that we don’t like what He has made us into. But, we can see God replying to them that He is the one who decides what they become not them.
Soft or stubborn clay?
In the potter’s hand, we can decide what type of clay we will be. Will we be soft and malleable- easy to work with type of clay? Or will we be stubborn and difficult? If we submit to the potter’s hand we will quickly become what He wants us to become. Nevertheless, if we decide to be stubborn and unmalleable, God will use difficult situations until we become soft and bendable to His purposes.
I’m reminded of Jeremiah 23:29 where God says that His word is like a fire and a hammer that is able to break even the most stubborn rock into pieces. If God cannot get us to cooperate in His hands, He will use other means to bring us to a place of submission. We can decide that we will be soft and malleable in His hands. Or stubborn pieces of clay that He has to use a hammer and fire on to make soft and malleable.
Noble and ignoble vessels
Now in a great house, there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-21
We get to choose the type of vessels we will be in the hands of the master, honorable or dishonorable. If we cleanse ourselves and become set apart we become honorable vessels that God can use for good works. But if we refuse to submit to His outworking in our lives we will be vessels for dishonorable use.
May we submit to the potter’s hand and become vessels for His purposes on earth