The Potter's House             

Jeremiah 18:1-6


     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 wheel which he shaped, quickly and with great ease, according to his own will. But something was found in the clay, a stiffness, a pebble, or some displeasing quality. "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." If the clay is not used for one purpose, it will be used for another. If it could not be molded into a vessel of honor, it will be molded into a vessel of dishonor, according to the will of the potter.

     THE CLAY here represents the house of Israel. Israel had been dug from Egypt like clay from the pit. God brought them up into the land of Canaan, where he gently shaped and molded them. But they were stiff and unyielding. A heart of stone was in them. Therefore that nation was marred in the hands of God. And he turned his grace toward the nations of the world. Paul enlarges this messge and tells us that the clay represents all men (Rom. 9:18-24). Clay is raw material, infertile mud, useless, except in the hands of the potter. That is what you and I are, useless clods of red earth, sons and daughters of Adam. God dug us from the pit of fallen humanity by the hand of his omnipotent grace. He fashioned us into the image of his own dear Son and filled us with his mercy. We who believe are vessels of mercy, made and prepared by God to be filled with mercy.

     THE WHEELS Jeremiah saw are the purposes, promises, providence, and power of God. All the circumstances, experiences, and events of our lives in this world are wheels used by God to mold and shape his people into the image of Christ, according to his will (Rom. 8:28-29; 11:36). And the wheels of providence and grace move according to God's eternal purpose of predestination.

     THE POTTER is the Lord God himself. You and I are as clay in the hands of God. He owns us. He has (and always exercises!) the right to rule us, use us, shape us, and dispose of us as he will. He says, "Cannot I do with you as this potter? Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand." God is not in your hands. You are in his hands. God is not ruled by your will. You are ruled by his will.


Don Fortner