“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
“Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 1and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: “Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.”’
“But they say, ‘That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart…’
“My people have forgotten me;
they make offerings to false gods;
they made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and to walk into side roads,
not the highway.” Jeremiah 18:1-12,15
The Lord gives vivid visuals to His prophet Jeremiah to illustrate His heart for redemption. To watch a potter knead and press and shape clay on a wheel is to understand the loving, purifying, caring hands of the Artist. It was God’s good plan to rework and redeem His people; He would ultimately send His Son Jesus to make it eternally possible. Though he may buck and chafe and resist, man, made from clay, is ever clay in the Creator’s hand. (Galatians 3:13; Titus 2:14)
What spoils us is our stubborn penchant to go our own evil way, to turn from the God who made us for Himself. We worship false gods of intellect, health, productivity, family, and luxury. We must be king in control, and fashion our plans and listen only selectively to God’s voice as it suits our desires. We stray to side roads of compromise in confidences, integrity, and biblical principles. (Genesis 2:7; 3:19)
All the while, the Master Potter is itching to get His hands on us. In love, He lets us choose our path and direction, and stands ready to return us to the wheel for reworking when we return to Him. Will we amend our ways and yield?
What impurities need removing? How might the Lord knead harsh words and hard attitudes into softer, more grace-filled ones? Where can self-righteousness, stubbornness, and pride be reformed into humble servanthood?
Lord, have Your full way with me. Work me into a vessel for honored use in Your kingdom and for Your glory. (Romans 9:21)