Jeremiah 18:1-10 (CEV)
18 The Lord told me, 2 “Go to the pottery shop, and when you get there, I will tell you what to say to the people.”
3 I went there and saw the potter making clay pots on his pottery wheel. 4 And whenever the clay would not take the shape he wanted, he would change his mind and form it into some other shape.
5 Then the Lord told me to say:
6 People of Israel, I, the Lord, have power over you, just as a potter has power over clay. 7 If I threaten to uproot and shatter an evil nation 8 and that nation turns from its evil, I will change my mind.
9 If I promise to make a nation strong, 10 but its people start disobeying me and doing evil, then I will change my mind and not help them at all.
Isaiah 64:8 (CEV)
8 You, Lord are our Father.
We are nothing but clay,
but you are the potter.
These Bible verses produce in my mind some powerful images of God, our Father, as the Potter and we, His children, as the clay.
I have always liked that image but I gained some further insights into the way I now view the passages thanks to a dear friend recently sharing some thoughts with me on this subject. I am grateful for the inspiration my friend’s thoughts provided and for allowing me to share some of their vision as well.
Have you pictured yourself and your life as the clay at the mercy of the Potter’s wheel/hand?
I have always interpreted these verses as acknowledging that God is the Father of us all and that, we, being the clay, are shaped and molded into the people He desires.
Honestly, what I never thought about before, in relation to these verses, was the free will that God granted to us humans.
In my opinion, Jeremiah 18:4 seems to support that:
And whenever the clay would not take the shape he wanted, he would change his mind and form it into some other shape.
If you watch a potter’s wheel, you will observe that the clay is constantly moving and shifting. The potter is constantly adding water to the clay and constantly is shaping and reshaping the clay. Can’t that be representative of our lives because of the free will we have?
Is it possible that God gave us free will to first see how sincere our hearts are as well as to show how great of a God He really is?
If, in our free will, our hearts are truly sincere and seeking to please God, He won’t have to reshape our lives too much, will He? But, His hands are always there shaping us, helping us to become the best version of ourselves that we can be.
If, in our free will, we get off the beaten path, God can keep reshaping the clay and working things out in ways where we can see how He truly is God of all.
Wouldn’t God’s work be much simpler if He did not give us the gift of free will? If we were just a piece of marble or even clay that He was free-forming on a table instead of a wheel that would be much easier for Him.
Thankfully though, He did not make us that way. We can be continually reminded of His greatness since He can take our choices and our actions and still form something beautiful out of us!
We have the privilege and challenge of honoring God, the Potter, in all we do, with the way we, the clay, interact with others and how we love Him.
God is not a passive God that just sits back and watches our lives unfold. No, He is the Potter always at work helping to shape our lives to make us more like Him and reflecting His love to all we encounter.
What are some ways the Potter shapes our lives daily?
If we mess up and turn back to Him, He always takes what we messed up and still uses it for His good in our lives or in the lives of others.
He whispers in our ears and heart which way we should go if we listen.
God nudges us sometimes when we need to step out and encourage another.
God speaks to others sometimes to minister to or encourage us when we need it most.
Giving us faith in ourselves to do something we never envisioned before.
This week keep in mind that:
God makes something beautiful out of every piece of clay He forms.
No matter what we do with our lives, the Potter is always reshaping us.
The Potter can take our choices and actions, even the bad ones, and still form something beautiful out of it!!
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. –Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it. –Psalm 139:14 (NLT)
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” –1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)