Lessons from the Master Potter
“1 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.” Jeremiah 18:1-10 NIV (emphasis mine)
When God wanted to reveal His truth to Jeremiah, it is interesting that He did NOT tell Jeremiah to stay at the church. The Lord did NOT say to sit and “read the bible.” He did NOT say to go and get involved with a small group or to take a special class at his local church.
When the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, it led him to take steps of obedience. God led Jeremiah to an unusual place to learn about God’s working.
The word of the Lord led Jeremiah to a potter’s house.
“1 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…” Jeremiah 18:1-3.
I often want the word of the Lord to come to me, make perfect sense to me then I will follow.
Jeremiah learned that the word of the Lord came and called him to do the illogical in order for him to receive an amazing message.
Here is what happened when Jeremiah followed the word of the Lord…
“4But 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” (emphasis mine).
Here lies the miracle of the Gospel. God does not discard us. He forms us into something else entirely!
Jeremiah sees that the potter uses the already marred clay in his hands and “formed it into another pot.” Jeremiah observed how easy it would have been for the potter to simply discard the marred clay and start all over. The potter could have thrown the marred clay to the side and started from scratch. It would have made sense. No one would blame him for it. Yet, as Jeremiah watches the master potter, he recognizes that the potter does not immediately discard the pot. Instead he re-shapes and re-builds it!
Why is this significant for Jeremiah to see? The lesson the Lord shows Jeremiah is simple. By sitting and watching the master potter, Jeremiah learns that while Israel needed God and remained unwilling to turn to Him, the Master Potter was able to re-shape them and mold them into something else. Jeremiah seen that there was still hope and God was not done with Israel yet.
This passage is important to me also because it shows me that when I am marred and broken, God does not throw me aside, discard me, and start all over with someone else. Instead He continues to shape me, mold me, and prepare me to be used by Him.
I think it is also important to remember that while the potter is the one who carefully crafts and shaped the pot, it still remains soft and weak until it goes through the heat of the fiery furnace.
The Master is the one who shapes the pot, but it is the scorching heat of the furnace that strengthens it and prepares it for use. Jeremiah’s obedience led to a great revelation of how God works in the lives of His people. Jeremiah teaches that God wants to bring healing to the sick, glory from the garbage, riches from the rubbish, and majesty from a mess.
Our God is the One who makes diamonds from the coals, draws out righteousness from the ungodliness, mends the broken hearted, brings sight to the blind, and freedom for the captives!
Lord Jesus it is by Your grace that You continue to shape and form me. May Your will be made real in my life and may I respond well in the furnaces of afflictions. Amen.