HE IS THE POTTER
“Have thine own way Lord… thou art the potter, I am the clay” (Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862–1934). Amen.
Read Jeremiah 18:1–17
At the Potter’s House
18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 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.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 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. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.
11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”
13 Therefore this is what the Lord says:
“Inquire among the nations:
Who has ever heard anything like this?
A most horrible thing has been done
by Virgin Israel.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon
ever vanish from its rocky slopes?
Do its cool waters from distant sources
ever stop flowing?
15 Yet my people have forgotten me;
they burn incense to worthless idols,
which made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient paths.
They made them walk in byways,
on roads not built up.
16 Their land will be an object of horror
and of lasting scorn;
all who pass by will be appalled
and will shake their heads.
17 Like a wind from the east,
I will scatter them before their enemies;
I will show them my back and not my face
in the day of their disaster.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever felt like you have to go back to square one and start all over in life?
Things go wrong sometimes—and we just have to start again. Sometimes something in our life needs to be reshaped.
Jeremiah’s trip to the potter’s house is a picture of what God-the-Shaper would do with his people if they kept on refusing to listen to him (1–4). The Lord reminds the prophet that ultimately he is the one in charge. The nation of Israel had been spoiled through their own disobedience (12). Just like God had made human beings from “clay” in the first place (Gen. 2:7), he can remake the “pot” if he chooses. Jeremiah’s actions and words are a last-moment prompt to God’s people to turn back to him. But it was no use (11,12).
There is a sense of horrified amazement as God considers his people’s stupidity. Does snow ever disappear from the local Everest (14)? Do its streams ever stop flowing? Would you choose to travel on rough unmade pathways, rather than on a smooth highway (15)? It will end in disaster—and in God’s reshaping (16,17). The people didn’t like God’s words (18). Foolishly they took no notice, and they threatened his messenger. Jeremiah could only call out to God in desperation (19–23).
Find a clay-like substance (or even a stress ball) and squeeze it in your hand throughout your day. Each time you squeeze the “clay” tell God that he can shape you however he desires.
What is marred in our world, your church, your life? Call out to God and ask for his help and renewing.