Seeing the Real God
Father, as I approach Your Word, may Your Spirit come upon me to open the eyes of my heart to see Your face.
Read ISAIAH 64:1-12
Scripture taken from the THE 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 are the Potter. I am the clay” (Adelaide Pollard, 1862-1934). Old hymn, but timeless truth.
John Calvin believed passionately in the power of Scripture to bring clarity to our confused understandings of God. The Bible, he suggested, worked like the spectacles that focus the fuzzy letters on a page into meaningful words. “Revelation, Calvin’s metaphor implies … corrects the astigmatism of the sinful imagination … freeing us to see clearly what has been there all along” (G. Green).
The returned exiles in Jerusalem urgently needed a fresh and undistorted vision of God. The psalm of lament (63:7–64:12) reveals not an alternative understanding of the furiously battling God we encountered yesterday, but additional clarifying insights that guard against any tendency to one-dimensional worship. Two of those understandings come together in verse 8: “Lord, You are our Father … You are our potter.” God’s Word (although not often in the Old Testament) invites his people to call him Father, with all that name should imply about safety, intimacy and trustworthiness. This same word encourages us to ask our Father, “Where … where … why?” (63:11,15,17) and to talk frankly with him about those times when he seems hidden (5,7) and we feel abandoned (7). The image of the potter runs like a refrain through Isaiah (29:16; 45:9-11; 64:8). In each case it reinforces our understanding of the relationship of complete dependence between ourselves, who are “all the work of your hand” (8), and God who creates and shapes us.
We may wonder what kind of partial or distorted understanding of God was most widespread among the Jerusalem exiles. Had they lost sight of the passionately angry God waging war on evil (5)? Or had the conviction become dimmed of a forgiving Father (9) who understood them as intimately as the potter knows his clay?
What work of formation is the Master Potter doing in your life right now? Are you, the clay, yielding to the Potter, or resisting his shaping work in your life?
Creator God, I am the work of Your hands. You created me and now You shape me. May I be pliable in Your hands, and cooperate with Your shaping work.
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