MORE VISUAL AIDS
Lord, I yield myself to Your skillful hands.
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.
“Have Thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! Thou art the potter, I am the clay!” (Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862–1934).
Here is another illustration in which God himself chooses different methods, not only to speak to Israel, but also to inspire Jeremiah. On many occasions Jeremiah receives a clear message, but this time he is marched off to the potter’s workshop to learn a thing or two. Israel is complacent. God has chosen this nation to be his people, so nothing Jeremiah says will affect their view of themselves or their behavior. But God’s sovereignty is such that, like the potter who starts making one vessel and then breaks it down to create something else, God is free to use the clay before him in any way he wants. Watching the potter helps Jeremiah to realize this point for himself and express it in yet another way.
There is a warning here for any who assume that, because they have been used or blessed by God in the past, then he is bound to continue using and blessing them in the future. It is very tempting sometimes to say, “God called me to this role, so people should follow what I say, whatever it is.” Leaders rather should be saying, “God can change how he speaks and who he uses.” He gives those we lead the responsibility for checking that we are still following God’s way and not simply expecting them to follow our way! The alternative message is also clear: just because hearers refuse a message and turn against the messenger does not automatically mean that the messenger is spurious. As usual, both teachers and listeners need to be listening closely and heeding God’s message to them!
Think about some of the visual aids the Lord may have used to instruct you in times past.
Lord, help me to see and to understand who I am and what You want me to be. Help me to accept the changes You want to bring into my life.