This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Jeremiah 18:1-5
Feel like a marred pot?
That you have made so many poor choices that you are beyond hope?
That nothing can make you worthy in the eyes of God?
I have those moments too.
In the verses above God makes a point, using the potter Jeremiah watches, the pot is not conforming under the potter’s hands. What makes the pot flawed we don’t know but we are told that the potter had to re-form the pot into “another pot shaping it as seemed best to him.”
Though we are never told the flaw, we can guess from God’s next words:
… “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
What is He talking about? We know from the paragraphs that follow that the nation of Israel has once again stepped out of line with God. God sends the prophet to warn them: shape up before He Himself has to take very drastic measures.
Like a loving parent, God warns Israel. He gives them a chance, and often many chances. Why, because He continues to love them no matter how marred they are, and strives for them to become whole.
God loves His children and the bearers of His name no matter how flawed we are.
It is imperative to remember that while we are on earth, we remain on the potter’s wheel, and in His hands. The safest place to be.
Initially, it does not appear very safe at all. The clay’s smacked, squeezed, kneaded, patted, pushed and pulled, REPEATEDLY, until it is shaped and nurtured into the finished product. And boy do we feel it! All that “action” keeps the clay the right consistency, and any air bubbles that will later weaken the finished piece are worked out.
There are three things that specifically caught my attention as I watched several potter YouTubes.
- The clay must be centered on the potter’s wheel or plate, un-centered and off-balanced clay will end up warped and useless.
- The potter works hard and constantly holds the clay in his hands. He uses his fingers, knuckles, and the palm of his hand to shape the clay. His full attention is always on the piece in his hands. He leans his whole body into his project, his face above it, directing the clay, perfecting his project. His elbows are used for support, and his foot at the base of the wheel, controls the speed of its spin. After a while the potter’s body must feel the exertion that goes into shaping the lump of clay, but his vision of the finished product, the masterpiece, keeps him going.
- In order to remain pliable the clay must remain moist at all times. Clay that is not kept moist, gets tough and unmanageable. I thought of this moisture as the Living Water, the Word of God.
When the potter is content with the masterpiece he has so invested himself into; he must fire it in a kiln. This is the most delicate part of all because different temperatures cause different effects on the piece being fired. The potter’s choice of heat temperature must be just right or the piece can crack or burst.
My post would seem endless if I went into the process of kiln firing. But from what I understand after the clay is air dryed, the initial firing starts at 100 degrees F, and the clay goes through stages from that initial kiln stage, each time the heat temperature higher, to drying, to dehydration, to burn off, to quartz inversion, to lastly, vitrification; which happens at about 1800 degrees F.
As you can see, there is much work, perseverance, and sacrifice in each masterpiece.
So, next time you think you have blown is so badly that God wouldn’t want to waste His time on you consider the message God asked Jeremiah to relay to the Israelites, and consider the verse below.
“ …being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
If you have surrendered your heart to the Lord, He is indeed doing a good work in you. In our day and age of disposable and replaceable items it’s easy for us to imagine God looking down at our marred lump of clay with a disgusted face, and throwing us into the discard pile; but that’s not reality with God. To Him we are precious. Jesus’ blood has covered our flaws. When He tweaks us here and pushes us there He does it to mold us into the image of Jesus. Because of Jesus, we become perfect in the eyes of our Lord.
Sometimes I wonder why on earth my life has been so utterly difficult from day one. My conclusion: other than the fact we live in a shattered world, infected with problems and poor choices caused by sin that affect each of us, I will also remember that The Potter is at work in my life perfecting a His good work.
The potter is re-forming the marred pot into “another pot shaping it as seemed best to Him.”
In between the kneading, the pushing, the pulling, the squeezing, and the countless ouches; we must stay faithful and remember to say, thank You Lord for loving us so much that You willingly work out the kinks, even when we scream and kick through the process.
“To be a servant of God, you must be moldable and remain in the hand of the master.” Henry T. Blackaby
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013-2014 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com. ♛
2 responses to “In the Potter’s Hand”
A really interesting and encouraging post Elizabeth. I also thought of ‘tears of affliction’ keeping the clay moist …
Good point, yes tears; many many tears.