“Go down to the potter’s house.”
God sent His prophet to the potter’s house so that, by observation and inspiration, he might receive God’s message to deliver to God’s people. The potter had a lump of moist clay on his wheels, which he shaped, quickly and with great ease, according to his own will. — “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it” (v. 4).
The marring of the vessel was not by accident. It was “marred in the hand of the potter.” If the clay is not used for one purpose, it will be used for another. If it is not to be molded into a vessel of honor, it will be molded into a vessel of dishonor, according to the will of the potter. Once Jeremiah saw this, the Lord God gave his message to His prophet (vv. 5-10).
Ruin and Regeneration
Without question this vision has reference to our sin and fall in our father Adam and to the new creation of grace, to the ruin of our race in the fall and the regeneration of chosen, redeemed sinners in Christ Jesus. Adam’s race, like clay in the hands of the potter, was marred by sin. But, did the Potter throw it away? No! The clay was marred in the Potter’s hand that He might make from it both vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy, that He might make the vessels of mercy new creatures of grace in the Lord Jesus.
Yes, God’s elect are made new creatures in Christ. — “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Not only are we made new creatures in Christ, by virtue of our union with the Lord Jesus, we are both holy and secure.
In the Potter’s Hand
The marring of the vessel was according to the wisdom, will, and purpose of the potter. The potter did not drop the vessel. The vessel was not marred by accident. It was marred according to the wisdom, will, and purpose of the potter. It was “marred in the hand of the potter.” If the clay is not used for one purpose, it will be used for another. If it is not to be molded into a vessel of honor, it will be molded into a vessel of dishonor, according to the will of the potter. So it is with us.
What can be more comforting to our souls in the midst of dangers, difficulties, and discouragements, especially with regard to the work of the Gospel, than the assurance of our God’s absolute sovereignty? Nothing in all the world is so comforting and satisfying as this: — Our God rules!
If we give way to carnal reason and unbelief, we are quickly baffled. How we need to learn the lesson God taught Jeremiah in the potter’s house! As the potter has an absolute right and absolute power to do with the clay what he will, so the Lord our God has the absolute right and power to do what He will with his own (Matthew 20:15; Isaiah 45:9; Romans 9:20-21; Isaiah 64:8). The sooner we learn this, the better.
Nothing but the pride and unbelief of our own hearts keeps us from the realization of this fact, and prevents us from finding perfect, complete satisfaction in it.
Men have countless schemes of theology and philosophy, which have been formed specifically to deny the free grace of God, darken the counsel of God, turn men away from the righteousness of God in Christ to their own righteousness, and to limit the power of the Almighty. Mortal, sinful man dares lift his defiant fists to the sovereign Lord God and say, — “Hitherto shalt thou go and no further!” But the throne of God is unmoved!
Universal and Unlimited
Our great God appoints and over rules all things in glorious, absolute, universal, and unlimited sovereignty, according to the purpose of His own will, and declares to all men everywhere, as He did to the house of Israel, — “Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand!” — This is our security for the present and the future, for time and eternity.
Here is the solace of our souls in this present world. — “Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in Mine hand!” This we know, “the Judge of all the earth will do right.” Our God is too wise to err, too good to do wrong, and too strong to fail. If anything appears to contradict that fact, it is because of the darkness, ignorance, and unbelief of our hearts. — God does not give an account of His works to men. Therefore, we cannot fully comprehend them. He alone declares the end from the beginning, because He alone knows the end from the beginning. Though what we see may seem to totally contradict it, let us never doubt for a moment that our God always does right. The time will come when He will make known to the wonder of all creatures, for the praise of His own glory and the everlasting joy of His elect, that everything that is, has been, or shall hereafter be, has been done in exact agreement with infinite wisdom, justice, and truth.
Here is our solace regarding all things future, too. — “Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in Mine hand!” Our great and glorious Lord God has appointed a day when He will show all the universe that He has done right in all things and all things shall praise Him forever! We shall then see clearly what is now our great comfort to see by faith, — that our God does all things well. In that great day, all God’s people will forever admire His wisdom and goodness and praise Him for all that He has done; and all hell will forever confess His justice and truth.
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